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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 Sept. 25, 2003 / 28 Elul, 5763

Reason to hope

By Jonathan Rosenblum


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http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Jews around the world can be counted on to share one thought this Rosh Hashanah: Let 5764 be a better year than the one just ended. While there are no guarantees on that score, if we take to heart the messages of Rosh Hashanah, there is reason to hope.

On Rosh Hashanah, the Mishnah tells us, "all who come into the world pass in front of G-d as bnei Maron." The Talmud uses three metaphors to elucidate the puzzling term bnei Maron. All share one idea: The judgment is on the individual in absolute isolation, stripped of all social context. In that respect, the judgment resembles that on the day of death, where the individual confronts G-d in absolute solitude.

Remembering that we are not being judged in comparison to anything other than our own potential would go a long way to lessening the bitter divisions that typify much of Jewish life. It is always easier to concentrate on what someone else is doing wrong than to focus on one's own failings. Rather than working to improve ourselves, we hide from our failures by noting those of others.

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One lesson of Rosh Hashanah is that defending oneself by pointing out that someone else is doing worse will not avail. If all the subgroups within the larger Jewish community would remember that, and focus on fixing their own houses, the Jewish community would be not only better but more peaceful.

Standing alone before G-d, and being forced to explain, "Who am I?" ``What makes me different than my neighbor except that he wants this and that for himself, and I want it for myself?" is not a comfortable experience. But the very questions alert us that each of us is unique. Each of us has been placed on the earth with a specific mission.

In the Mussaf section of the Rosh Hashanah prayers, we find a description of G-d's remembrance: "When the remembrance of every created being comes before you - every person's deeds and mission. . . "

Every Jew is judged according to his "deeds," the mitzvos, religious duties, that are equally incumbent every Jew. But he is judged no less according to how well he fulfills his specific mission, the one which he or she alone can perform because no one else was ever born with the same configuration of strengths and weaknesses, or familial background.

To discern our particular mission, we must know our strengths, not just our weaknesses. As Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, founder of the Mussar movement emphasized, a Jew has to develop his in-born strong points for they are the primary tools for the fulfillment of his or her unique role in the Divine plan. Devoting part of our Rosh Hashanah to contemplating what is special about us, as individuals and as a nation, would be a good way to start the new year.

Though Rosh Hashanah is referred to in our prayers as the first day of Creation, it is in fact the day on which G-d created Adam by breathing into his nostrils. The rest of creation was but a prelude to that act of literal inspiration.

When G-d breathed into Adam, He gave part of Himself to man. That breath of the Divine, or neshama, is the soul. The Shofar blasts of Rosh Hashanah, created by a powerful expiration, recall that primordial breath with which man came into being.

G-d created the entire world only for an another being to whom He could give of Himself. Perfect and complete unto Himself, G-d nevertheless desired to give to another. That is the meaning of the verse in Psalms, "The entire world is founded on chesed," on G-d's original act of lovingkindness.

On Rosh Hashanah, we seek once again to attach ourselves to the original purpose for which the world was created -- the giving that proclaims G-d's existence. Thus did Nechemiah tell the exiles who had returned from Babylon, on Rosh Hashanah, to rejoice in G-d by "send[ing] portions to those who have nothing prepared."

Acts of chesed, whether through word or deed, with money or just a smile, connect us to G-d and to one another. By engaging in the G-d-like chesed, we experience the Divine within ourselves and are better equipped to perceive it in others.

Attachment to the congregation of Israel, is a crucial component of our service on Rosh Hashanah. How can we recite the same prayers two consecutive days? How can both be the Day of Judgment? The answer is that there are two judgments. On the second day, all those who might not be found worthy on their own are judged again in terms of their contribution to the Jewish people.

Participation in an organic community is the antidote to the grasping selfishness that prevents us from either appreciating the good that G-d has done for us or acting in His image through deeds of chesed to others.

The Jewish people have been sorely tested this year. To a remarkable degree, Jews around the world rallied to the side of their brothers in Israel.

May that act of identification be a harbinger of a better year to come.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in uplifting articles. Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan Rosenblum is a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and Israeli director of Am Echad. Comment by clicking here.

© 2003, Jonathan Rosenblum