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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. 11, 2013/ 8 Kislev, 5774

If JFK had lived

By David Shribman




JewishWorldReview.com | The nation this month is preoccupied with memory: The shots in Dallas. The frantic drive to Parkland Hospital. The agonizing moments of uncertainty, followed by the lingering feeling of incredulity. The scene on Air Force One. The arrest and then the slaying of the accused killer. The coffin in the Capitol.

But it isn't only memory that haunts us in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. We are haunted almost as much by what might have been as by what happened. What would have occurred in the remainder of the president's term? In the 1964 election? In a second term, presuming Kennedy was re-elected?

This is more than a parlor game, though it has dominated more than one dinner from Georgetown to Moscow. It prompts us to examine how our history unfolded, whether there was an alternative course, whether the upheaval of the 1960s, the eventual election of Richard Nixon, even Watergate, might have been avoided had the bullets missed their mark, had the president survived, had the day in Dallas dawned rainy and not brilliantly bright, prompting the president to ride in a covered 1961 Presidential Lincoln rather than the open vehicle that is seared into our historical memory.

By definition there is no such thing as alternative history. We can no more turn around the car at Dallas in 1963 as we could at Sarajevo, where a mere diversion in the route of the Austrian archduke in 1914 might have prevented the waste of 9 million lives and, it is possible, avoided the Russian Revolution, the Holocaust and the Cold War. But an examination of this question helps us understand history, and underlines how helpless we sometimes are in its march.

There are myriad elements to the intersection of historical forces that collided as President Kennedy's motorcade approached the intersection of Houston and Elm Streets a half-century ago. These are three of the most intriguing, troubling -- and illuminating:

The Vietnam War

Few subjects have transfixed scholars, commentators and diplomats as deeply and as persistently as the question of whether the United States would have committed a half-million troops (and sent 58,000 Americans to their deaths) in Vietnam had Kennedy won a second term.

There is conflicting evidence, supporting both the notion that Kennedy would have plunged deeper into Southeast Asia and the idea that he would have withdrawn shortly after being re-elected. Both arguments point to an elemental cynicism: that the president's fear of being blamed for losing Vietnam would have propelled him into widening the conflict, or that he would risk American lives in a half-hearted cause to preserve his political prospects and then remove troops once his own future had been secured.

Overall the better claim goes to the argument that Kennedy would have limited or ended the U.S. role in Vietnam. He and Robert F. Kennedy had visited Indochina a decade earlier and breathed the anti-colonial stench created by the French, who fled in defeat in 1954. That very year, Kennedy said on the Senate floor that "to pour money, materiel and men into the jungles of Indochina without at least a remote prospect of victory would be dangerously futile and self-destructive."

Though a devout Cold Warrior, Kennedy was chastened by the Bay of Pigs and less vulnerable, as he put it, "to plunge into an irresponsible action just because a fanatical fringe in this country puts so-called national pride above national reason."

In his "JFK's Last Hundred Days," published this autumn, Thurston Clarke repeatedly cites examples of Kennedy resisting entreaties to increase the American commitment to Vietnam, where, JFK told his reporter friend Charles Bart- lett, the nation didn't "have a prayer of prevailing."

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Race

Kennedy's evolution on civil rights outpaced the nation's but lagged that of his Ivy League circle. Well into his administration, he was logically but not emotionally committed to equal rights and integration. But as he employed the rhetoric of "freedom" while prosecuting a Cold War abroad, he came to see the incongruity and hypocrisy in the nation's domestic life. Eventually the sight of American authorities clashing with American citizens at lunch counters, schoolhouse doors, bus stations and in the streets was more than he could bear.

Some of that transition occurred during his struggle with Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama, which prompted his race speech in June 1963. But some of it happened two months later, after the Washington march. The principal organizers visited Kennedy in the White House that evening. "I have a dream," Kennedy told King in that setting, at that moment enlisting fully in King's cause. There was no turning back.

The youth rebellion

The Port Huron Statement, the Students for a Democratic Society manifesto written by Tom Hayden in 1962, sometimes is regarded as the clarion of 1960s upheaval, but much of the decade's social, political and cultural tumult grew out of opposition to the Vietnam War and impatience on civil rights. So it is possible to posit that a withdrawal from Vietnam and a frontal assault on segregation might have prevented or ameliorated the rebellion of the 1960s.

Kennedy was a hero to American youth -- but he had more in common with the Rat Pack than with the counter-culture. He was a libertine but did not flaunt his sexual adventurism; he acknowledged he was a combination of promiscuity and Puritanism. Even his language was antiquarian; he spoke of "dames," not "chicks." He was a drug abuser, but his drugs were prescription medications meant to ease his pain, not to provide a sense of ease or elevated consciousness.

Kennedy had an inherent suspicion of big business -- he took on the steel barons in a celebrated 1962 confrontation -- but believed in capitalism. His heroes were establishment figures like Marlborough, his blood raced to the rhythms of Kipling, his heart swung to the beat of Sinatra. He was more idealistic than iconoclastic.

Kennedy wouldn't have thrown in his lot with the new culture -- but he wouldn't, and probably couldn't, have stopped it. The rebellion of the 1960s might have been less rooted in protest with Kennedy alive, but the new generation, reared in the prosperity of the consumer culture and the probity of the college campus, was going to create a world that went beyond JFK even had he lived to witness it -- and be bewildered by it.


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


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

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