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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 March 25, 2013/ 14 Nissan, 5773

Where portraits tell the story of America's greatest conflict

By David Shribman




JewishWorldReview.com | In this 150th anniversary season you can explore the Civil War by reading narratives, memoirs and letters. You can examine historians' visions and scholars' revisions. You can delve into the great speeches of the era, especially those of Abraham Lincoln. But perhaps the best, and most unexpected, thing you can do is to walk into the National Portrait Gallery and be stirred by the portraits, posters, prints and handbills on its venerable walls.

The Civil War was a photographed war, the first major conflict to be recorded by camera. These pictures, especially those by Mathew Brady, are riveting and realistic. But the camera was the Twitter of the time: flashy, relatively new, full of promise, attended by overly excited early adapters. (No matter that the most moving photographs of the war were battlefield pictures, many of them staged, with bodies moved for effect.)

The old, reliable medium in the middle of the 19th century was the painting: familiar, true, centuries-old, steeped in tradition, a craft with its own conventions and a time-honored apprentice structure. Though agitated by new movements, rife with rebellion, upended by realism, it remained old-fashioned even then, in a time we now consider old-fashioned.

And so, amid all of the fancy new multimedia presentations about the war that redefined the country and redeemed its founders' idealism, we might pause before a few old paintings that speak to us still, a century and a half later. Perhaps that's because we feel the poetic intervention of the painter in these Civil War portraits, leading us to sense that our experience is shaped by someone thinking about the subject in a way less obvious to us than when we view a photograph.

It is, of course, false to say that photographs involve less human intention and intervention than paintings do, but we are conditioned, often wrongly, to think that they are records as opposed to interpretations. As George T.M. Shackelford, deputy director of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, put it: "We look at a painting of Lincoln in a way we read a poem about Lincoln by Walt Whitman."

So these portraits, many gathered from the gallery's permanent collection, aren't so much a fire bell in the night -- Jefferson's characterization of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 that put off the war for four decades -- as a whisper in the ear. And yet they are jarring to modern Americans trained to think of Civil War generals as dusty busts on a tucked-away shelf. Not so.

Here is Stonewall Jackson, strong and proud, and William Techumseh Sherman, resolute in northern eyes, despised in southern.

Here is Joseph E. Johnston, mysterious and hesitant. He and Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, bickered, much the way Abraham Lincoln, president of the much-reduced United States, fought with George B. McClellan, who commanded the Army of the Potomac but was reluctant to use it. These men engage us on the wall even though they did not engage the enemy on the battlefield.

Ulysses Grant did engage the enemy -- Lincoln explained in two words why he favored him: "He fights." The portrait of him at Vicksburg is not the Grant of legend and lore -- or of the presidency. He was young then (41), with a far-off look, for while victory at Vicksburg was imminent, victory in the war was not.

Perhaps the most striking painting is the heroic Thomas Buchanan Read portrait of Philip Sheridan on horseback, commissioned by the Union League of Philadelphia. This is not classic equestrian portraiture, but a glimpse of the Union general galloping in full fury and urgency on a horse called Rienzi toward the Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia in October 1864. The painter actually visited Sheridan's camp to create a work of art that seethes with action.

If it is wartime determination you are seeking, you will do little better than the striking portrait of Dorothea Dix, superintendent of nurses in Washington. She brought comfort to soldiers and set exacting standards: "All nurses are required to be plain-looking women. Their dresses must be brown or black, with no bows, no curls, no jewelry and no hoop-skirts."

Now, a final word about a final portrait, this one a remarkable hand-painted lithograph of Martin Delany, the black activist, doctor and editor who lived in Pittsburgh much of his life and was an associate of Frederick Douglass.

Much about this portrait is wrong -- it shows him standing in front of Union tents, presumably as the battle commander of black troops. But there remains something strong and true about this image. Delany persuaded Lincoln to allow black officers to command black troops, and he was chosen to lead the 104th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops in Charleston, S.C. But the war ended too soon for Delany or his troops to see action, though the point remains: Delany was a pioneer and visionary, two traits that ensure his memory today.

"He was one of the most militant activists for African-American self determination and civil rights during the antebellum period," says Ann M. Shumard, senior curator at the National Portrait Gallery. "He had gone to great lengths to catalog the professionals of color who were men of accomplishment."

A century and a half later, the Civil War and the debate on slavery that prompted it still inspire great moments in the arts. Late last month, a group of arts organizations and universities announced it would develop a dozen new theatrical works about the war. Washington, D.C., already is full of visual exhibits about the conflict, including one on the art of the era at the Smithsonian American Art Museum adjacent to the National Portrait Gallery.

But before you wander there, linger for a moment before one final masterpiece at the portrait gallery, an 1864 chromolithograph of the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments in Philadelphia. This breathtaking print portrays black soldiers and their white commanding officer at Camp William Penn, and its title is "Come and Join Us Brothers."

The lesson of the Civil War is that the conflict itself joined us as brothers, and nowhere is that clearer than in these pictures at an exhibition.

Comment by clicking here.

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


Previously:



03/18/13 A former president's correspondence reveals the power of letters, and the powerlessness of aging
03/11/13 Outrageous spectacle lead to a rational resolution on the budget? A nation can dream, can't it?
02/25/13 The one big thing Democrats and Republicans can actually agree on
02/18/13 Obama is wrong to make young people think college is mainly about making a living
02/11/13 The war inside the GOP
02/04/13 Presidential politics, frozen in place
01/28/13 Speech invokes past for present and future
01/14/13 If Obama's inaugural address is to be remembered at all
01/21/13 Identity crisis in the GOP
01/07/13 History meets firearms
12/31/12 In search of our better angels
12/24/12 Wounded in war, Inouye just kept serving his country
12/10/12 President as change agent
12/10/12 Another overtime election
12/03/12 Defining the Obama presidency: Our re-elected chief executive has the whip hand now, but how will he use
11/19/12 New Hampshire 2016
11/12/12 Obama's second chance
11/05/12 America's first martyr to free speech
10/29/12 Making hay in Iowa
10/15/12 When two men confronted each other from afar as civilization hung in the balance
10/08/12 If you look at the election a certain way, things don't seem so terrible
10/01/12 Debating the debates
09/24/12 Pessimists R Us
08/20/12 Obama remains a puzzle even as he asks the American people for a second chance
08/13/12 With Ryan, Romney upends the conversation
08/06/12 The real Romney remains hidden behind other people's opinions
07/30/12 What summer is for: How August can matter, and how Romney might use it
07/23/12 The Independent son of independent Maine promises to shake up Washington
07/16/12 The Rambler American
07/09/12 The Telstar revolution: Fifty years ago, a 3-foot orb was sent aloft and spawned a new era in communications
07/02/12 It's got only four electoral votes, but Romney and Obama will be fighting for them
06/25/12 A little noted rebellion over a lonely stretch of land helps tell the American story
06/18/12 You're nothing special: Luck is what you make of it . . . and what it makes of you
06/11/12 Anybody can talk authoritatively about the presidential election. Here's how
06/04/12 Candidates love to ally themselves with admired presidents, in sometimes unexpected ways
05/29/12 Americans aren't in a new burst of patriotism but they are in a new burst of appreciation for the military
05/21/12 Inside out: Almost nothing about this year's presidential election conforms to conventional analysis
05/14/12 Lugar grew into an elder statesman, which is why he'll be leaving the Senate
05/07/12 50 years later, MacArthur's farewell to arms continues to inspire
04/30/12 The likability factor: We're going to find out how important it is in these troubled times
04/23/12 Romney's four battles: With the nomination essentially in hand, he must turn to new challenges
04/16/12 For GOPers, expect the frustration to build, not abate
04/09/12 The political battles you cannot see
04/02/12 Romney's roadmap: Doing better in Democratic states may complicate his fall campaign
03/26/12 Romney struggles with same GOP forces his father faced long ago
03/19/12 The writer and the president
03/12/12 Romney could learn from his rivals after Super Tuesday
03/05/12 The GOP race continues, and Republicans continue to grouse about their choices
02/27/12 The turnout threat: when voters vamoose
02/20/12 The Winter's Tale: Republicans are engaged in a 'problem play,' full of psychological, and real, drama
02/13/12 Which Ike to like?
02/08/12 A tale of two elections: Voters today are making their most profound choice since 1912
01/30/12 Whither the GOP establishment?
01/23/12 The Democratic coalition is breaking up
01/09/12 The verdict that wasn't
01/02/12 These are the keys to who will persist
12/19/11 Another Gingrich rebellion
12/12/11 A defining fight for the GOP
12/05/11 A distinct lack of enthusiasm
11/28/11 For GOPers, the winds are beginning to pick up, the horizon is darkening
11/21/11 Today's polarized politics . . . blame FDR and the political scientists
11/11/11The sporting life
11/07/11 Ron Paul, true believer
10/31/11 Why Cain isn't able
10/10/11 GOP starting over
10/03/11 The Forgotten War of 1812
09/26/11 The way we live now
09/19/11 The crisis this time
09/11/11 But what will it mean?
09/05/11 A horse race column: Who might win the GOP nomination and how it might unfold
08/29/11 The vacuum calls
08/22/11 Passion and politics: How Barack Obama and Mitt Romney got crowded into the same dangerous corner
08/15/11 Eleanor's little village
08/08/11 The agony of August
08/01/11 The politics of the impossible: What a country this might be if the political class served the broad interests of the majority
07/25/11 Pennant fever grips 'Burgh
07/18/11 Exemplar of an era
07/11/11 On summer
07/04/11 The soul of the party
06/27/11 What the Secretary said
06/20/11 Romney has big advantages over his rivals, but they will be coming after him
06/06/11 One question each
05/30/11 The 14-week challenge
05/23/11 Delay tactics
05/16/11 Republicans are waiting
05/09/11 Bin Laden is dead. What does it mean?
05/02/11 From nobodies to nominees
04/25/11 The founders left slavery for future generations to settle, and we still haven't fully come to terms with it
04/18/11 From audacious to cautious
04/11/11 Dreaming of space
12/12/10 The GOP takes control
12/06/10 DECEMBER 7
11/29/10 GOP presidential hopefuls already are lining up local supporters in what is now a red state
11/22/10 Burning down the House
11/15/10 Institutions of higher learning are finally beginning to teach important lifeskills
11/04/10 The war has just begun
11/01/10 Echoes of a speech 40 years ago this week still resonate today
10/25/10 50 years ago America chose between two men who were dramatically different --- and eerily similar





© 2011, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Distributed by Universal Uclick, as agent for UFS.

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