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

Be gleeful about banning the burka? Not so fast

By Jonathan Rosenblum

Your enemy of your enemy is not always your friend

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Conflicted.

How should religious Jews react to the ban on the pubic wearing of the burka (a full-length garment with only tiny, mesh-covered slits for the eyes) recently passed by the French parliament and currently under consideration in other European countries? Answer: with profound ambivalence.

Women who wear the burka — or, in some cases, their husbands or fathers, who demand that they do so — view the burka as a religious obligation.

Religious Jews have always favored an approach which places a high burden upon the state to justify legal burdens on the performance of religious obligations. When the U.S. Supreme Court's began to interpret the Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution, to give great deference to state statutes, as long as those statutes are neutral on their face, religious groups lobbied hard for the Freedom of Religion Restoration Act. The RFRA required the demonstration of a compelling state interest before imposing a serious burden on religious observance.

Religious concerns are well founded. Some European countries already ban ritual slaughter, and there are recurring threats to do so on a European-wide basis. Of even greater concern are possible restrictions on religious circumcision.

The burka ban could be justified in some cases even under the compelling state interest test — e.g., with respect to airport security. (There are cases of male terrorists who have escaped detection by wearing a burka.) But the case for fines for merely appearing in public in a burka is harder to make.

Some defenders of the burka ban maintain that the burka is not required by Islamic law and is a recent innovation, with little support in traditional Islamic practice. A number of Moslem countries ban the burka, and the vast majority of Moslem women around the world do not wear it.

While these claims are true, no religious Jew would be comfortable with the secular judicial system conducting Jewish legal inquiries and making its own determination as to what is required by Jewish law and what is merely a chumra b'alma (a religious stringency).

Others argue that religious liberty claims have less force in the case of the burkas because the decision whether to wear a burka is often not made by the woman wearing it, but imposed upon her by her male relatives as an instrument of social control to prevent her from integrating into her host society.

Again, that is true. But similar arguments could be raised against traditional Jewish practice. Anti-circumcision activists, for instance, invariably describe the ritual as an act of parental compulsion, lacking any informed consent on the part of the infant.

SO WHAT IS THE POSITIVE about the burka ban? The ban signals a determination by a significant number of Europeans to save their countries from the worst ravages of a mindless multi-culturalism and to prevent a Moslem takeover. Those Europeans insist that there is such a thing as national culture, and that citizenship and even residency can be properly conditioned on a willingness to participate in that culture. (The conundrum for Europe, of course, is that low European birthrates necessitate the import of cheap labor, most of it Moslem.)

The recent Swiss referendum against the building of minarets reflected a similar assertion of national culture. In Moslem countries, no structure of another religion is allowed to be higher than the minaret. (In some Moslem countries, like Saudi Arabia, no other religion can be practiced at all.) In banning the minaret -- which is not a requirement for Muslim prayer -- the Swiss are rightly treating the building of tall minarets as, in part, a Moslem political statement, and saying, "We do not have to show a tolerance for Islam that Islam does not reciprocate with respect to our majority faith."

Until now, Europeans have watched passively as Moslem minorities have grown, with many major European cities nearing majority Moslem populations. Members of the first generation of Moslem immigrants were often eager to assimilate into their host cultures. But their children and more recent immigrants increasingly reject integration. Many urban Moslem neighborhoods have become no-go zones for police and firefighters. Sharia, Islamic law, applies in these areas and honor killings often go unpunished.

Not only have Moslem populations created their own autonomous areas, they have sought official recognition for Sharia law and Islamic banking practices and produced an endless stream of demands for "sensitivity" from their hosts — e.g., no public display of piggy banks.

Muslims have resorted to political violence against those who showed insufficient deference to their sensitivities — e.g., the assassination of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, the attempted murder of the author of the Danish cartoons, and the fatwa against author Salman Rushdie. Many young Muslims travel frequently to their countries of origin where they become radicalized and trained in terrorist tactics.

In response, the European political class has often proven pusillanimous, treating Islamophobia as a greater danger than the radicalization and refusal to assimilate of Moslem populations. One result of that cowardice has been to embolden Moslems and make Europe an ever more dangerous place for Jews. Amsterdam police have begun dressing as Jews in order to catch Moslems who prey on identifiable Jews. The Belgian newspaper Der Standaard reports that large numbers of Jews are fleeing Antwerp for America, Britain or Israel. Jacques Wenger, director of the Jewish community center in Antwerp, who is making aliyah, predicts that in fifty years the only Jews left in Antwerp will be the ultra-Religious.

While right-wing parties in Europe have traditionally been bastions of xenophobia and anti-Semitism, today many of the politicians most dedicated to combating the Moslem takeover of Europe, like Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, are the most supportive of Israel, which they see as at the forefront of their struggle.

All of which leaves us deeply conflicted by the burka ban, just as we began.

Interested in a private Judaic studies instructor — for free? Let us know by clicking here.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes inspiring articles. Sign up for our daily update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

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.

© 2009, Jonathan Rosenblum