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 Oct. 4, 2006 / 12 Tishrei, 5767

Talking nonsense about religion

By Jonathan Rosenblum

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Dispelling myths about People of Faith and the notions that animate their lives

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ever notice how many ridiculous assertions, many of them touching on matters of religion, are printed in serious journals weekly?

Last week's non sequitur prize goes to The Jerusalem Report's cover story on sexual harassment in Israel, in light of the accusations against President Moshe Katsav and former Justice Minister Haim Ramon.

The article quotes a number of social scientists who purport to identify various social and cultural factors that make Israeli society a fertile ground for the phenomenon, including — you guessed it — Judaism. Among the social factors cited are Israel's lack of separation of state and religion and the allegedly inferior status of women in Judaism. As an example of the latter, social anthropologist Dr. Esther Hertzog notes that former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau is considered a possible candidate for president despite the fact that he does not shake hands with women.

Frankly, the connection between Rabbi Lau's handshaking habits and sexual harassment escapes me. Are those who do not shake hands with women more likely to engage in sexual harassment of various kinds?

If memory serves, a recent president of the United States was as affable and undiscriminating a presser of the flesh as ever came down the pike. That did not prevent him from being the subject of at least one charge of rape and many others of groping and lewd behavior no less credible than those being hurled at President Katsav today.

Yet, as far as I know, Bill Clinton is not Jewish; the Hot Springs, Arkansas, in which he grew up, was not notably suffused with Jewish values; and there is a full separation of state and religion in the United States.

It is not traditional religious norms that provide fertile soil for sexual harassment, but their absence. The social scientists quoted by The Jerusalem Report provide not one scintilla of evidence that sexual harassment is more common in Israel than any other advanced Western society, and or that religious men are more frequent harassers.

Here's an interesting idea for a study by our social anthropologists: Survey religious Jewish women in the secular workplace to determine whether they are subjected to sexually crude remarks and outright solicitation at the same rate as their secular counterparts. Or do their standards of dress, demeanor and conduct, and hair covering convey a clear message that they are off-limits and have no desire to be part of their co-workers' sexual fantasies?

One Orthodox woman who worked for years in an American newsroom where the male reporters regularly regaled one another — and women reporters who feared being thought to be prissy — with vulgar jokes told me that not once did they invite her to join the fun. Yet she otherwise enjoyed a friendlier relationship with them than other femaie reporters.

The failure of strong legal sanctions to eliminate sexual harassment around the world results primarily from the impossibility of superimposing a legal regime on the workplace that flies in the face of the hypersexualized general culture. Tabloids, popular music, and TV sit-coms all promote the idea that the main thing on virtually everyone's minds is sex.

It is impossible to expect people living in a world of double entendres, sex clubs, and clothing designed to leave as little to the imagination as possible to suddenly park the conventions of that world upon entering the work place. And that is especially so when work place dress no longer signals any clear line of demarcation.

The highest aspiration of our young is to be a celebrity in the Paris Hilton mold. Young girls judge themselves on a scale of how "hot" they are — i.e., by how much attention they attract — in a complete inversion of the original feminist ideal of women being judged as something other than sex objects.

In one poll, cited in the Report article, only 18% of female soldiers reported being subjected to sexual harassment in the Israeli Army. But when asked whether male soldiers or officers had made crude remarks of a sexual nature to them, 55% answered affirmatively. One possible explanation of the disparity is that the crude remarks were not experienced as sexual harassment because they were not entirely unsought, as evidenced by efforts of female cadets to tug their army issue pants ever lower.

Women may be victims of this process, but they are not complete innocents in their own abuse. Confusion and mixed messages are inevitable in a society where sex is up front all the time. A little more of the traditional Jewish sexual modesty would be a big corrective.

MY SECOND entry in the non-sequitur sweepstakes can be found in a recent Jerusalem Post opinion piece ("Thus Spake Zarathustra," September 15) by the paper's former managing editor, Calev Ben David: "Any religion in the modern world that does not make an effort to welcome, or seek out, new converts, is fated to diminish."

As a matter of elementary logic, that statement is false, unless one is discussing the Shakers and other celibate religious communities.

The rapid growth of Muslim populations all over the globe owes little to conversion, and a great deal to high birthrates. Or let us take a happier example: Orthodox Jews. A close friend of mine in his early '70s already has a 100 grandchildren, plus or minus. With a little more such fecundity, all the hair-pulling about the disappearance of the Jewish people would cease, even if not one more convert entered our ranks.

Indeed demographers predict that by the middle of the century the decline of the Jewish population will bottom out and reverse due to Orthodox growth.

American Jewry is disappearing because Jewish women tend to marry, if at all, at a later age and have fewer children than any other religious or ethnic group.

In place of Ben-David's rule quoted above, I would offer a far more defensible one: A religion whose foundational texts and basic tenets are unknown to most of its members, whose rites and practices are observed by few, and which is of so little significance in its members' lives that well over 50% marry members of other faiths is fated to diminish.

Such a religion, by the way, will exercise little appeal for converts. Rates of conversion among gentile spouses of Jews continue to drop, despite the mainstream's community's widespread acceptance of intermarriage.

Now how about a moratorium on silly statements about religion?

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JWR contributor Jonathan Rosenblum is founder of Jewish Media Resources and a widely-read columnist for the Jerusalem Post's domestic and international editions and for the Hebrew daily Maariv. He is also a respected commentator on Israeli politics, society, culture and the Israeli legal system, who speaks frequently on these topics in the United States, Europe, and Israel. His articles appear regularly in numerous Jewish periodicals in the United States and Israel. Rosenblum is the author of seven biographies of major modern Jewish figures. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Yale Law School. Rosenblum lives in Jerusalem with his wife and eight children.

© 2006, Jonathan Rosenblum