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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 Oct. 22, 2009 / 4 Mar-Cheshvan 5770

Heaven Arrives, Or: Ecclesiastes on a Bicycle

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The old boy walked his bike out the door of his house in Little Rock and realized: The weather's turned cool.

He felt it, but he couldn't believe it, not at first. It had been summer for so long and, strangely enough in these latitudes, not much of one. He tried to remember the last time he'd heard the standard greeting in these parts, "Hot enough for ya?" He couldn't.

Now it dawned on him he might need a thin jacket for his morning ride around the neighborhood. What a relief: October, real October, had finally arrived. A little early even, but all the more welcome for that. October in these latitudes would give Heaven a run for its money — and then some.

The sun shone off the leaves, which hadn't really begun to turn yet but were already falling off, dotting the yard and starting to invade the oddest corners of the house. How do they do it — manage to infiltrate in such numbers and in so many places … it was a mystery to him. But it happened every fall. He didn't mind picking them up, not yet. They were still a minor novelty — a welcome, wistful sign that the seasons still changed. Some things were right with the world.

He knew it'd been fall for some time up in the northern part of the state, and that it still hadn't quite arrived down in the South. Last time he'd taken US 65 through southern Arkansas, the heat of the day still shimmered off the new/old plantation house that had been restored at Lakeport. It rose off the highway like a throwback to the 1850s, when the original house had been built just in time for The War and ruination.

Men still make the mistake of assuming the future will be but a projection of the present. If we paid more attention to the past, we might know life is just full of surprises, some of them less than pleasant. Why do we think of peace as the natural state of things and war as an interruption, when it could just as well be the other way around? Why do we speak of the Thirty Years War and not the Thirty Years Peace before or after? Or the historic Civil War and not the historic civil peace?

Those who built the high house at Lakeport could not have foreseen the devastation about to come. In the 1850s, cotton was bringing an average 11.4 cents a pound, the highest it had been since the boom years of the 1830s. Optimism was as endemic along the swampy banks of the Mississippi as malaria. Old Man River flowed past this plantation like a super-highway to New Orleans and the world's markets. All good things beckoned. Cotton was king, and its kingdom swelled with pride.

Stand on the riverbank and look away, look away. You can almost hear the fiddle music, the laughter of the young of all ages. Nothing is ever lost, certainly not in these parts. The pride that goeth before a fall was at high tide in 1859, like the stock market in 1929. Or 2008.

The high, two-story house set in the midst of the cotton fields is testament to the Delta's long-ago prosperity and promise of still more, with its 17 high-ceilinged rooms, two-story portico in front, the tapered white columns, the eleven-foot-high wood-paneled doors, all supported by great cypress beams from the adjacent wetlands, complete with a 26-foot-long entry hall. … What grand entrances must have been made there.

How could its master, the good Lycurgus Johnson, have foreseen what the near, disastrous future would bring? By the time the surrender was signed at Appomattox, this whole part of the country was being torn apart by looters and freebooters of both sides or no side. Those lucky enough to return from the various fronts whole would find little but desolation.

The tax rolls from 1860 to 1865 tell the story: from pride-and-plenty to nothing-to-declare. Now, with the grand house restored after many years of neglect, you can almost see the ghosts in their pre-war finery out for a stroll, taking in the last, lost hopeful air of a long-ago October….

Things change. And change back. Today fall had finally arrived in Little Rock, which sits on the cusp between Mountain and Delta South. Here the season is so young that every day will be new for a while. The old boy breathed deep. And shivered. He set the bike outside and went back for that jacket. It felt good.

All was perfection and yet … it wasn't. He should have been delighted. And he was, but only in an abstract way, the way you are when you know how you're supposed to feel but don't, not really, not all the way through. He should have been refreshed; instead he was resentful.

It took him a moment to understand why. It wasn't the coming of fall he resented; it was the passage of time — unrecoverable time. The sun shone, but for a moment mortality had cast its shadow. The beauty of the physical world in its new aspect only brought the old truths home: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die. … How he was going to miss all this.

Once he had put the feeling into Ecclesiastes' words, it was gone. Resolved. Now he was free to enjoy the brisk air, the good feel of the jacket on his back, the old neighborhood all new again in the cool air. And off he pedaled. For there is nothing better than to enjoy the now. Just as The Preacher in the Good Book had advised. The bountiful now is all we've got, and it is more than enough. Certainly this time of year in Arkansas. October had finally got here. Heaven had arrived.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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