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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 12, 2011 / 12 Menachem-Av, 5771

Rain!

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | LITTLE ROCK -- It came late in the afternoon -- literally out of the blue. Unexpected. Unearned as grace. The great sunlight over the newsroom had been shuttered days ago, and covered by tarps to keep out the record heat and dispiriting glare. All you want in an August in Arkansas, especially an August like this year's, is shade. And water. Any hope of relief had dried up with the grass. And then....

The first drops splattered on the office window like a forgotten promise about to be fulfilled. It had been so long I didn't recognize the sound at first, and wondered what the tap, tap, tapping was. It came tenderly, tentatively. Like a child's kisses. But then -- ah, then! -- there came a rain. A full-throated, soaking, overflowing rain, pouring down like a mighty stream. Like long awaited justice.

The sound of it, so long missing, swelled like music. Like a concerto of water. First diminuendo, then climactic crescendo. You had to stop and just listen, then look out to confirm the good news, and delight in the drops and ripples and puddles, the full gutters. At last! Praise the Lord!

I just stood still, riveted, lulled, accountably happy. Nothing else mattered. Not now. It was raining! I was reminded of the story about the old boy who said he would sure like to see it rain -- not for his sake, you understand, but for the children's. They'd never seen it.

Rain stories, or rather stories about the lack of it, are legion in the middle of a summer like this one. Over in Texas, back during the pretty much decade-long drought of the 1950s, they used to tell one about the rancher who bet a few of his friends that it'd never rain again. And collected from two of them.

Rain humor can be as dry and bitter as the weather west of the Piney Woods, where the Great Plains begin to set in like the Gobi. This year Texas is entering the second longest drought ever recorded in its history.

The high holidays are approaching for us Jews, and there is a prayer that pictures the Lord Almighty sitting at his great ledger and recording next year's fate for every living soul -- who shall have rest and who shall go a-wandering, who shall live and who shall die, who by water and who by fire....

Yet it is drought of all curses that seems to inspire a peculiar dread in this still agrarian culture. Perhaps it's the gradualness of it, the unchanging sunny regularity of it that makes men lose hope and drives women mad. It comes ever so gradually, dry spell turning into record drought, extinguishing hope so slowly, that only later do you realize you'd forgotten what rain was.

But this is supposed to be verdant, blessed, water-rich Arkansas. And it needs to stay that way, whatever plans are being hatched by our ever-busy Corps of Engineers to drain bottomlands or channel rivers for some supposed greater good. Washington needs to be watched every minute.

Here in Arkansas, drought years are the exception to be talked about -- people still talk about the summer of 1980 -- and not the rule to be endured. Or finally flee from in utter, dejected defeat. Now the rain, sweet rain, was pounding at the windows, rinsing the sidewalks, cleaning the dingy downtown streets, overflowing the gutters, washing away the gray, drenching any passersby caught without an umbrella. And not minding a bit.

Earlier in the day, I'd thought myself lucky to find a parking spot a block away under the shade of a sparse little tree. Now I would have to borrow an umbrella and hop over flooding gutters to make it there. I was sorry -- that it wasn't two blocks away.

As the water swirled around my ankles. I understood why some cultures celebrate monsoons with water festivals. It felt good. It felt like Gene Kelly singin' in the rain'. It felt like ... Rain!

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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