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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

Reclaiming Control of Our Lives

By Jonathan Rosenblum





How to gain clarity of vision about the nature of the world and our relationship to it

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The forty days between the beginning of the month of Elul and Yom Kippur correspond to the forty days that Moses spent atop Mt. Sinai preparing to receive the second Tablets of the Law. They form — at least ideally — one continuous process of teshuva (repentance). The most essential ingredient in that process is deep introspection on our part. Only if we know who we really are, and understand the myriad ways in which the Evil Inclination has managed to insinuate itself into our lives and taken control, can we hope to change in the coming year.


Unfortunately, thinking deeply about ourselves, or anything else for that matter, is something at which we are ever less adept. The prospect of being alone with our thoughts, without any outside stimulus, terrifies us. If we find ourselves in any of those places or situations where thinking was once possible, we immediately start casting about for people to call on our cell-phones.


The process of human beings becoming ever more shallow has apparently been going full speed for centuries. Consider that there was once an avid popular readership for the pamphlets subsequently compiled as The Federalist Papers, the foremost exposition of the United States Constitution and the greatest work of American political thought. Or imagine Illinois farmers, tradesmen, and craftsmen standing in the hot sun for three straight hours listening to Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debate in their 1858 senatorial contest. Who can conceive such a thing today when candidates have learned to confine their message to thirty second sound-bites and rarely give the impression that given more time they would have anything of greater substance to add?


The decline in our capacity for thinking in depth has been greatly accelerated by modern communications technologies. A friend of mine, who has been lecturing in South Africa since before the introduction of television, tells me that he can chart the decreasing attention span of his audiences according to the number of years since the advent of the box.


Last year, I watched a friend lecture at one of America's better law schools from the last row in the amphitheater classroom. Every student had a computer in front of him or her, ostensibly to take notes. But a large percentage were busy surfing the web. I pitied my friend.


The new technologies carry with them the promise of access to unfathomable amounts of information and the ability to connect to millions of other people around the globe. The benefits are felt in countless ways, not the least in breaking the monopoly of the mainstream media on news and opinion.


But these technologies come with a cost, and the tools have too frequently become our masters. Rehabilitation centers have sprung up for Internet addicts unable to tear themselves from their computer screens even to eat and sleep. Many teenagers find the virtual reality of Internet games far more compelling than communicating with actual human beings, and spend every free moment in that reality.


Even those of us who have a life often find that time-saving technologies are eating up hours every day. Every ten minutes, we find check our emails, and once there end up consuming every new scrap of information no matter how uninteresting.


Social networking, which offers the promise of hundreds of new "friends" and being able to keep in touch with everyone one has ever known, can end up degrading the level of human contact. Some spend more time every day presenting themselves on their homepage than communicating directly to real people. And in the process, they are either turned into or revealed as insufferable narcissists, who have decided that what they are eating or when they are sleeping is a matter of general interest.


Members of the fervently Orthodox community, in which I live, spend far less time plugged in than our secular contemporaries. I doubt that many of my neighbors have any idea what Facebook or Twitter are (not that I would be surprised to hear that "kosher" versions of both have popped up in the next couple of years, if they have not already.) But we are hardly unaffected. Most of us have had the experience of trying to carry on a conversation with someone furiously scrolling down his Blackberry or of being abruptly cut off in the middle of talking on the phone to a friend because he is certain that whoever is trying to get through must be more interesting than we are.


At the circumcision of my oldest son's firstborn last week, I read from a letter that I had written more than a quarter century ago to friends in the States after my son's pidyon haben. (The friends had just made Aliyah, and while preparing their lift discovered this masterpiece in a box in their basement, where it had somehow been preserved from a flood.) As a pulled the onion pages from my pocket, a few of the younger celebrants asked, "What's that?" They had never before seen a handwritten, personal letter — and certainly never written one. As a biographer, I worry about the loss of the rich lode of material personal letters formerly supplied. But I worry even more that even if the hard-disks of future subjects can be found, that they will turn out to be far less worthy of attention. Composed in haste, generally short, written with little anticipation of being preserved or even reread, emails rarely represent an attempt to convey a well-formulated thought or more than a snapshot of a passing mood. People who never tried to convey more will end up having fewer thoughts and shallower emotions.


THE PERIOD of the year in which we now find ourselves offers the possibility of reclaiming control of our lives, if we can step back and take a deep look at ourselves. The process is incremental. Two years ago, I resolved not to look at emails before morning prayers. It turned out to be the most successful such resolution I ever made, precisely because it was small and concrete. But it also left me feeling that other "victories" are possible.

I always feel something between awe and wonderment whenever I meet someone who doesn't have a cell-phone. I'm not prepared to go there yet. But I've noticed that such people are generally among the deepest and happiest that I know.

Every Rosh Hashanah is a new creation of the world, and brings with it the potential to experience a taste of the primordial light present at creation — and with it a sense of clarity otherwise absent from our lives. Adam is described as having seen from one end of the world to another, something that is obviously a physical impossibility as the world is round. What this means is that he had absolute clarity that the entire created world exists only because G-d brought it into being and sustains it. To gain that clarity of vision about the nature of the world and our relationship to it, we must first turn down the noise, cut out the distractions, stop overstimulating ourselves, and accustom ourselves to once again think deeply.

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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.






© 2009, Jonathan Rosenblum