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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 April 7, 2005 / 27 Adar II, 5765

A ‘spark’ ignites a new era

By Bob Tyrrell


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the spring of 1978, I was in Rome on a glorious sunny morning, and after my matutinal coffee I strolled up the Via della Conciliazione to St. Peter's for a visit. As I recorded in "The Conservative Crack-Up" over a decade later, it was a time of "idiot whirl." Suggestive of the whirl, that pert ignoramus, Jimmy Carter, was dithering through the last years of his idiot presidency. Inflation was singeing the dollars in our pockets. Industries were failing. America was derided around the world. There were new fanatics everywhere and crazy suicidal cults. The Rev. Jim Jones had just led 900 or so of his faithful to their poisonings.

The Piazza San Pietro was experiencing the whirl, too. Yes, there were great schools of pious Christians swimming across the Piazza's old gray stones and into the great cathedral, but it seemed there were lunatics everywhere. Seated next to a bored cop was a fat greasy man in his early 30s dressed only in a T-shirt, a pink diaper and a baby's bonnet. A demented woman carrying a bird cage was howling to the crowd. There were many others — dirty, tired-looking hippies from earlier in the decade now burned out and vacant. Several months later an obscure Polish cardinal would be elected pope. Over the next few years, the chaos of the Piazza receded. The idiot whirl of the Western world receded, too. True, the narcissistic contingent of American politicians about to descend on St. Peter's to exploit John Paul II's funeral will return zaniness to the Vatican for a few hours, but then it will be back to normal.

After this pope and all the history made since the late 1970s by Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and their confused Marxist-Leninist accomplice, Mikhail Gorbachev, the world is a saner place, albeit still troubled. The day Karol Wojtyla became John Paul II, Richard Nixon, still in disgrace, was visiting London. When informed of the Polish cardinal's surprising election, Nixon speculated to members of Parliament in the House of Commons that here might be the "spark" to ignite the forces of freedom against Soviet domination throughout what was then called Eastern Europe. Pope John Paul did that and much more, as every obituary has affirmed.

He revived the spiritual vigor of his Church, reinvigorated ecumenism, acknowledged Christianity's debt to the Jews and the wrongs committed against them, and raised the dignity of human life for all to contemplate. Even in his last weeks, he gave the suffering of the very old meaning. He was a great proponent of freedom, but he insisted it was meaningless unless it pursued the virtues. He was, after all, at bottom an Aristotelian and Thomistic philosopher. He championed reason. John Paul II has been the greatest pope of the last 500 years, as well as one of the great political figures of the 20th century. Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, and of course Hitler, Mao, and Stalin, now have a silver-haired man of G-d in their ranks.

Most of this has been dilated upon during the worldwide spectacle of the pope's death, a spectacle unlike anything that might have been anticipated, we are told. His intellect, goodness, and political acumen have all been remarked on, but few have noted its provenance. Unlike any of the other historic figures of the century, the pope was a mystic. Prayer and contemplation of G-d was the source of all he did in life.

During the Nazi occupation of Poland in 1940 the 20-year-old Wojtyla came under the spiritual influence of a deeply religious middle-aged layman, Jan Tyranowski, who presided over something called the "Living Rosary." It consisted of groups of 15 or so young men devoted to prayer and contemplation. From this experience, Wojtyla gained his lifelong interest in the mysticism of the Carmelite order and the teachings of the 16th century Spanish Carmelite St. John of the Cross. While the Nazis prowled Poland, Wojtyla meditated and deepened his understanding of St. John's mystical communion with G-d. All the rest of his life, no matter the demands the world placed on him, his foremost concern was his own communion with G-d.

This pope would pray four hours a day, sometimes more. He had as many responsibilities as any head of state, but all his decisions depended on prayer and contemplation. That is what a mystic is, even when he is the head of a 2,000-year-old institution comprised of a billion constituents. Now all the politicians who have hustled off to Rome to bid the pope adieu surely want to be the best that they can be and do the best job they can, but would any of them set aside hours every day to pray when other responsibilities beckoned? That sounds very unprofessional to me. But then, I have missed things over the years.

Reviewing that memorable 1978 morn in Rome as I wrote it up in "The Conservative Crack-Up," I noticed that nowhere in the book did I mention John Paul II. I was writing about the condition of conservatism in the late 20th century, yet somehow I missed the pope. After the huge send-off the world has given him, it will be difficult to repeat that omission.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

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