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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 May 31, 2010 / 20 Sivan, 5770

Empathizer in chief

By David Broder



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It took almost a full hour of Barack Obama's news conference for the professor-president to come down from his lecture platform and show the human reaction to the gulf oil leak accident that people had been looking for.

Early on, he referred to it as a "tragedy," but the rest of his words were characteristically calm -- precise and clear but hardly betraying any emotion.

When we elect a president, we understand that we are not hiring an actor and that we are not entitled to expect him to fulfill all our audience needs. But we want to think that the person who leads our country shares and reflects our feelings.

Politicians know this. A few hours after Obama addressed the media on Thursday, CNN showed a news clip of Rep. Charlie Melancon, a Louisiana legislator who was talking at a hearing about the impact the oily pollution was having on the wetlands of his native state -- and had to stop because he was weeping so hard. There was instant empathy.

Obama does not ask or get that. What he offered instead was exactly what his constituents have seen since he was elected: a clear sense that he understood the situation, that he was in command and that he fully accepted the responsibility.

He made all that unmistakably clear, as he had done in other moments when his leadership was being tested: In Philadelphia, during the campaign, when he had to deal with the issue of race raised by his former pastor's inflammatory comments; in the opening weeks of his presidency, when the nation tottered on the brink of financial collapse; when he set the course in Afghanistan and committed thousands of additional U.S. troops; and when he asked Congress to try once more on health-care reform.

I doubt there were very many Americans concerned about the events in the Gulf of Mexico who did not find a substantial reassurance in seeing Obama taking the heat on the crisis.

But then, finally, he gave the country something more -- a brief glimpse into what the challenges of his job mean to him personally.

"When I woke up this morning and I'm shaving, and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peeks in her head and she says, 'Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?' "

The next sentence leaps from the mundane to the universal. "I think everybody understands that when we are fouling the Earth like this, it has concrete implications not just for this generation but for future generations."

What he says next is so simple and personal that its authenticity cannot be doubted: "I grew up in Hawaii, where the ocean is sacred." And back to the shared reality: "And when you see birds flying around with oil all over their feathers and turtles dying" -- as every viewer now has had to watch -- "that doesn't just speak to the immediate economic consequences of this; this speaks to, you know, how are we caring for this incredible bounty that we have."

And then he focused directly on the people living near the gulf. "Sometimes, when I hear folks down in Louisiana expressing frustrations, I may not always think that their comments are fair. On the other hand, I probably think to myself, you know, these are folks who grew up fishing in these wetlands and seeing this as an integral part of who they are. And to see that messed up in this fashion would be infuriating."

What began as a defensive academic exercise ended on a much better note.

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