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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. 18, 2013/ 15 Kislev, 5774

Tied, and divided, by one afternoon

By David Shribman




JewishWorldReview.com | George Samiljan was a captivating young man and is a compelling adult. I liked him as a child and admire him as a man. But I’ll never socialize with him — never — and we both know why. He and I are tied by tragedy, and divided by tragedy.

Nov. 22, 1963, was a shimmery afternoon in the beach town where we both grew up, and when the dismissal bell rang at 2:10 at school, he and I set out to walk through Orchard Circle and up Humphrey Street en route to my house on Stanley Road. We were pupils in Dorothy Rich’s fourth-grade classroom, and the Stanley School was one of those timeless places on the New England coast, and not only because the clock on the outside of the brick building was stuck, much like the clock atop the Old Vicarage in Grantchester immortalized by a splendid man who died young, Rupert Brooke.

This was a Friday and we were free of school and there were snacks to be had at home and a weekend ahead to be enjoyed. We were halfway home when the police lady who stood at Salem Street — flustered, frantic, even — hurried to us. “The president’s been shot,” she screamed, the volume intended to impress us with the urgency of it all, though the words were startling enough. “Get home immediately.”

We did, and there at home was my grandmother, a worry wart on her best days, a portrait of panic on this day. Her son — my uncle — had been on PT 111 in John Kennedy’s star-crossed squadron, and though ordinarily she had no patience for Democrats, Kennedy was a special case and had enjoyed special favor.

In his landmark 1952 Senate race against the redoubtable Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., Rep. John F. Kennedy, the congressman from Massachusetts’ 11th district and the onetime commander of PT 109, had stopped in her hometown of Salem and had spoken to her about the son she had lost in the Pacific during World War II. That meant the world to her, because that son — and of course her other, surviving, son, my father — had meant the world to her. And so on this day the one loss mixed with the other, so profoundly that a nine-year-old could sense it, so poignantly that a 59-year-old cannot forget it.



That terrible afternoon I sat in front of the television in a room we called the den and watched the black-and-white images flicker by, not knowing that those images would remain with me forever; following the news with remarkable attention, not knowing that the news would become not only my avocation but my vocation as well; thinking about the president whose administration I barely understood, not knowing that the years 1961-1963 would mark me like no others.

Indeed, decades would pass and yet I am stuck on those three years, stuck like a broken record, even though that simile itself is stuck in that vinyl era and meaningless in this one. I have long believed that in life it is not very important how old you are, but it is very important when you were young. (It was on that weekend that Daniel Patrick Moynihan said to Mary McGrory that while they might laugh again, they would never be young again.)

And so the lessons of the Kennedy years, both the triumphs and the tragedies, have stuck with me, with a stubborn vividness, far more so than anything from the years of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, all of whose presidencies I witnessed firsthand as a reporter. I knew every one of those men, and Gerald R. Ford, too, and yet it is Kennedy, whom I never met, I feel I know best.

Those three Kennedy years are the son et lumiere show of my subconscious. When my brother Jeff and I fought sometime in the fall of 1960 — a 6-year-old beating up on a 4-year-old, not exactly a championship prize fight — my mother, who wasn’t even a native American, called us aside and said: Look at those Kennedy brothers. One of them is running for president and the other brother is helping him, not fighting with him. My earliest political memory is the Kennedy inaugural address, an occasion for our Canadian mother, who emerges in this tale as a bit of a political opportunist, to urge us to ask not what she could do for us.

Hardwired into my brain is President Kennedy’s American University speech, which of course I never heard but whose words I know by heart. (“I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on Earth worth living, and the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and build a better life for their children.”)

Somewhere in the recesses of my memory is the Kennedy Trade Mart speech, which I also never heard, because no one ever heard it, as it was to be delivered later that afternoon in Dallas. (Words to remember, even so: “We, in this country, in this generation, are — by destiny rather than by choice — the watchmen on the walls of world freedom.”)

And I cannot count the times I have told my kids that they should take on some challenge not because it is easy but because it is hard. (They know nothing of JFK’s Rice University speech of 1962 that set America on a trajectory to the moon, but they have heard its theme many times.)

All these years later — a husband, a father, a newspaper editor, above all a premature but recondite old timer, maybe even a relic — I still am drawn to John Kennedy, not so much for what he did but for what he represented. If, as Kennedy said in an unforgettable phrase, Winston Churchill mobilized the English language, then it can be said that John Kennedy mobilized the American idiom in service of American idealism. His eloquence was a fire that truly lit the world, and anyone of my turn of mind knows exactly why that phrase jumped effortlessly from my fingers, and why it courses through my veins and shapes my thoughts, even now, even after so much time, even after so much revisionism, even after so much cynicism.

Now we are at the 50th anniversary of one of the darkest Fridays any of us will ever know. I’ve grown up and perhaps grown old, but never outgrown the agony of that afternoon, which I remember better than I remember yesterday — because it has, to me, always been part of the present, never the past.

And so I never invited Bud Samiljan home to play again. I bump into him every decade or so and we unfailingly exchange a warm hello, and maybe a handshake. But that’s it. No reminiscences, no promises to get together sometime. Because we won’t get together sometime. We never will. We are tied, and divided, by one afternoon.


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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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