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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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. 12, 2010 / 5 Kislev, 5771

Bars into Churches

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Some people are alone because they want to be. This we call solitude, and how sweet it is. Others are alone but don't want to be. So they cluster. Where do all the lonely people go to be together? If they have laptops, to Starbucks. If not, they can be found -- where else? -- in either bars or churches. Both institutions provide fellowship, allay fear, offer succor and may disappoint.

So why not combine them? Why aren't bartenders more spiritual, preachers less preachy? What would be a better place for a bar than a church, making due allowances for those hardshell denominations -- Baptist and Muslim -- who frown on the use of spirits. My respects to both, if not agreement. For the connection between spirits and the spiritual is more than linguistic. Both can intoxicate, lead to communion and let us be reconciled with one another.

Wine may be a mocker, and strong drink raging, but doesn't the Good Book also advise a sip as a digestif? And there was that wedding in Cana where the water was turned into wine with the Lord's blessing. In the end, we are left to follow the wisdom of the Greeks: moderation in all things, perhaps even in moderation.

The omnibibulous H.L. Mencken was all in favor of drinking, but not without observing certain rules. For example: "First, never drink if you've got any work to do. Never. If I've got a job of work to do at 10 o'clock at night, I wouldn't take a drink up to that time. Secondly, never drink alone. That's the way to become a drunkard. And thirdly, even if you haven't got any work to do, never drink while the sun is shining. Wait until it's dark. By that time you're near enough to bed to recover quickly."

As the old boy said after reading that day's installment of Little Orphan Annie, I don't know if I believe half of that.

Not drink if you've got work to do? That all depends on the work. Some of us treasure a story about the late great Harry Ashmore of the old Arkansas Gazette. On being told it was closing time at the Little Rock Club, he ordered one more. "Make it a double," he told the waiter. "I've got an editorial to write."

It isn't drink that has ruined many a newspaperman, but an immoderate sobriety that reduces their copy to safe, sober, soporific solemnity. With maybe a few moralistic platitudes thrown in as an additional sin. Respectability has ruined more columnists than rum has.

I'd add a few rules that my father taught me about drinking, including: Never drink without eating. Much like Mr. Mencken, he was against drinking alone. And he was dead set against trying to drown your sorrows -- on the ground that drink only intensified them. His rule was to drink only on happy occasions, preferably those with some religious significance. What kind of sabbath would it be without the blessings over the bread and wine? It would be like communion without the wafers and wine.

On the other hand, my grandfather, the drinker of the family, never considered supper properly started without his glass of schnapps. According to family legend, he couldn't decide whether to have his aperitif before or after the fish course, so he compromised by having it before and after. You never met a sweeter old man. He was also the best behaved of gentlemen. My grandmother saw to that.

Alcohol has its uses, as any good pharmacist can affirm, and is not to be despised. It merits respect. Which is what's wrong with the way so many of us drink -- casually, without ceremony, not even a toast. The family dinner table should be a kind of altar.

The itinerant preacher from Nazareth associated with gluttons and winebibbers, much as he was criticized for it. Just as many might not understand, let alone approve, the idea of installing a bar in church. Or, for that matter, a church in a bar. But what good is a religion if it doesn't scandalize? There's something almost oxymoronic about respectable religion; it takes the spirit -- and spirits -- out of it.

Why not invite ministers with the call to take their place behind the bar at the neighborhood pub Tuesdays and Thursdays? Perhaps some associate pastor or youth minister, one not yet given to talking more than listening.

Or just ordain the bartender. Naturally he would be required to know his bible as well as he does his Bartender's Guide. As the poet noted, "Malt does more than Milton can/ to justify God's ways to man."

Of course, someone would have to see to it that no one monopolized the conversation around the bar. Bores and boors take the fun out of drinking as surely as they do the wit out of conversation. Not that there's anything wrong with communing in silence, as at a Quaker prayer meeting. As modern music so often reminds us, there is much to be said for silence.

Cheers.

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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