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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 Nov. 9, 2009 / 22 Mar-Cheshvan 5770

When Freedom Was at High Tide

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner: 'This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality.' Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom."

—Ronald Reagan
June 12, 1987


It would be hard, 20 years later, to recapture the exhilaration of the day the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. The amazement. The happiness. The first swing of the ax. The thousands, then tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands pouring across like a great human tide. The joy. Above all, the peace of it.


The hated, feared, despised Stasi were just standing by, uncertain and overwhelmed. The puppeteers in charge of a puppet state were confounded, uncertain, undone. The irresistible force of freedom was being loosed in Europe without a shot being fired. And more was to come.


How did it happen? Theories abound. Everybody and his cousin has an explanation, usually about how it was all the result of some quirk, some accident of timing, some unintentional announcement on the part of the authorities. As if freedom were just a result of chance events, a domino effect without anything toppling that first domino. All such explanations confuse immediate and underlying cause, the occasion with the reason.


The great tide had been building for years, for decades. But it would take daring and determination to release it. Walls do not come tumbling down by themselves, however much it might seem that way looking back. There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to freedom. High tide came November 9, 1989, when the Wall came down, 20 years ago today.


There was a time when it took daring for an American president to call tyranny by its right name. For there were always those who saw freedom not as what would end the Cold War and the nuclear arms race it had spawned, but as the spark that would destroy civilization itself.


Any American president who embraced freedom too openly, from a plain-spoken Missourian named Harry Truman to a B-movie actor named Ronald Reagan, was sure to be denounced as a warmonger, a threat to world peace, a dangerous simpleton, a Cold Warrior — fill in your own favorite epithet here. Mine, which has a deliciously ironic sound now, comes from that political mastermind of the Democratic establishment, Clark Clifford, who once dismissed Ronald Reagan as "an amiable dunce." Well, he got the amiable part right.


There was a sad time when the American people were told by another president, Jimmy Carter, that we needed to grow up and get over our "inordinate fear of Communism." That was not Ronald Reagan's tack. From his first days in the Oval Office, after being subjected to one of those three-hour seminars on the fine points and subtle nuances of diplomacy, he summed up his own idea of the Cold War in just a few words: "We win, they lose."


We did. They did.


Ronald Reagan did not mince his words. He dared call an evil empire an evil empire. "Tear down this wall!" he told Mikhail Gorbachev when he visited Berlin in 1987. Two years later, the wall was torn down.


Who would've thought it could happen? It was as inconceivable as a world without a Soviet Union. To this day sophisticates speak as if the fall of the Wall — indeed, the whole collapse of Soviet Communism — was some kind of happy accident that just happened to occur on Ronald Reagan's watch. My, what a coincidence.


Even now the received history of the Cold War in gliberal versions is that the saintly Mikhail Gorbachev ended it. Wasn't he Time magazine's Man of the Year as 1988 dawned? Just as Barack Obama was this year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.


It takes a rare liberal (excuse me, progressive) historian, like Princeton's Sean Wilentz, to let it slip that Ronald Reagan's "success in helping finally to end the Cold War is one of the greatest achievements by any president of the United States — and arguably the greatest single presidential achievement since 1945."


But usually that's not bruited about in the professor's intellectually acceptable circles. His idol, the court historian of Camelot, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., visited the Soviet Union the same decade the Wall would fall, and came back warning against those right-wing nuts "who think the Soviet Union is on the verge of collapse, ready with one small push to go over the brink." Which it did once the Wall fell and the gates were open all over Europe. But it wouldn't have happened without American presidents like Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan willing to tell the simple truth about the choices facing the world.


Freedom has had its low tides, too. One of Ronald Reagan's more ineffectual predecessors, Gerald Ford, was reduced to scurrying through the White House at Henry Kissinger's wily direction lest he be caught publicly shaking hands with Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He might have offended the tyrants in the Kremlin by being seen with the prophet of the age.


The pattern continues. The current occupant of the Oval Office finds excuses not to meet with the Dalai Lama yet, lest people remember that Tibet is still in thrall. Why embarrass our creditors in Beijing? Better to hold our mouths just right in the presence of the world's tyrants. We wouldn't want to offend them.


Yet freedom still calls even when it isn't heard.. The tyrannized around the world grow restive, while an American president extends his open hand to their oppressors. On the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the American embassy in Teheran, an uncowed group of protesters gathered to stage their own unofficial, unapproved and unafraid counter-demonstration. Their purpose: to denounce Iran's stolen election and shout slogans against the dictatorship. One of the chants heard: "Obama, Obama — either you're with them or with us." It's not clear, but the suspicion grows that he's with them. Mainly, he dithers.


Many of us seem to have forgotten that walls do not come down of themselves. Freedom is not something just to be commemorated. It requires courage, candor, vision, will. A willingness to take risks. Like the risk of speaking out. As in: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

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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