In this issue

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 Jan 6, 2014/ 5 Shevat, 5774

Congress and the President need to find a way to freshen the air and freshen their outlook

By David Shribman

JewishWorldReview.com | A new year begins, and we are haunted by some of the old questions. But before Congress returns to the Capitol and before the White House creaks back into action, we might pause to examine the state of our politics.

This is an election year. The contours of the 2016 presidential campaign will begin to take form. Vital budgetary, military, and diplomatic questions will need to be confronted.

The year will open with a blast from the past, the memoir of former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Because he served in the Pentagon under both a Republican and Democratic president, Mr. Gates ought not to be dismissed as a cranky geezer who is befuddled by memories of rosier days.

His book will salute George W. Bush and Barack Obama for their chivalry, but criticize many of their decisions. It also will excoriate Congress as “[u]ncivil, incompetent in fulfilling basic constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned, too often putting self (and re-election) before country. …”

That is a searing, but not a daring, assessment. A McClatchy-Marist Poll released last month showed the President and Congress with all-time low ratings. About two-thirds of the country view the nation as on the wrong track. So much for the glad tidings of the holiday season.

It may seem wearisome to read about governmental dysfunction and public disapproval, since they are such hardy perennials. Two generations of Americans have come to maturity with the conviction that government is bad, that politics is worse, that things are deteriorating at an ever-quickening pace, and that hope should be abandoned at the exit door of the maternity ward.

This is the legacy of Vietnam, the credibility gap, Watergate, the pardon of Richard Nixon, inflation, the Iran hostage crisis, Iran-contra, Whitewater, a presidential impeachment, terrorism, financial collapse, congressional paralysis, and much more.

But each presidential administration, and each new Congress, has the chance to start anew. There have been moments of great hope in the past third of a century.

They came on the right with the election of Ronald Reagan and on the left with the elections of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. These were times when young people and even wizened old veterans longed to be in Washington, to breathe the new fresh air and to shape the new fresh outlook.

We do not have such opportunities in 2014, but Congress and the President need to find a way to freshen the air and freshen their outlook. The country simply cannot continue the “decay in the quality of American government,” as political theorist Francis Fukyuama puts it.

The prospects for revival-tent conversion are dim. In a widely discussed essay published last month, Mr. Fukuyama took aim at the role of interest groups in American politics, with a swipe at Congress.

This part of his critique is especially worth examining:

“It is commonly and accurately observed that no one in the U.S. Congress really deliberates anymore. Congressional ‘debate’ amounts to a series of talking points aimed not at colleagues but at activist audiences, who are perfectly happy to punish a legislator who deviates from their agenda as a result of deliberation or the acquisition of greater knowledge. This leads then to bureaucratic mandates written by interest groups that restrict bureaucratic autonomy.”

Embedded in that one paragraph are several great truths. The Senate, which describes itself as the world’s greatest deliberative body, is no such thing.

Politicians’ views are shaped for, and shaped by, special-interest groups. Ideological rigidity and foolish consistency are celebrated rather than deplored.

Maybe what America needs is a little less consistency from its politicians. Start with the notion of making congressional debates and White House negotiations actual debates and actual negotiations.

Perhaps the presence of so many lawyers and the lure of the closing argument has warped our politics. But if politicians viewed their scripted talking points only as opening arguments rather than as the last word, if they listened to the views of their rivals, and if they then evaluated their views against their opponents’, they might find a middle ground, or at least learn to respect views that clash with theirs, and the men and women who express them.

Our politicians believe that the speech — and the negotiation, or the House-Senate conference committee — is less for persuasion than for exposition. Let’s consider celebrating the politician who changes his or her mind — not for mean advantage, but for principle.

It’s time to heed the wisdom of science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov: “Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”

So let’s scrub the windows of our politics. Let’s not abandon our principles. Instead, let’s consider whether we might abandon our positions, especially if they were furnished on memos prepared by the special interest groups that govern our politics — or if they were conjured by politicians who hope to appeal to those interests.

Politicians: Heal thyselves. Politicians: Think for thyselves.


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David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism, is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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