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

Bettering the world starts with oneself

By Jonathan Rosenblum

The power of Yom Kippur

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Yom Kippur, says the Talmud, is the most joyous of the Yomim Tovim because it is a day of Divine forgiveness. The day before we were cut off from G-d, unworthy in His sight, and today we are close and beloved once again.

The recitation of the Al Cheit prayer nine times over 26 hours forces us to focus on all the ways that we have failed to live up to the ideal. Yet strangely the dwelling on our failings and weaknesses is also a cause of joy. We emerge from Yom Kippur confident that we can change ourselves dramatically, and filled with hope that perhaps next year we will finally be able to stand in front of G-d giving account of our lives without acute embarrassment.

The powerful drive to teshuva, return to G-d, inherent in the day, leaves one feeling capable not just of becoming a better person but of becoming a new person. The Kabbalists point out that the numerical value of the word HaSatan (variously the tempter or accuser) is 364. We are thrall to our physicality 364 days a year. On Yom Kippur, however, we rise above ourselves and become spiritual beings.

After Yom Kippur, we do not just revert to our previous state. Having being freed from the power of the yetzer hara (evil inclination) for one day, we recognize it as a fifth columnist within, not part of our essence. Recognition that our sins do not define us fills us with an intense desire to extirpate from our personalities all that led to our various sins — to literally recreate ourselves.

I can still remember my first Yom Kippur at the Jerusalem's Ohr Somayach nearly 25 years ago. After finishing the silent Shmoneh Esrai prayer, I looked up convinced that I must have just presented G-d with the longest bill of particulars He had ever received. To my astonishment, I saw the rosh yeshiva, rabbinic dean, bent over reciting the Al Cheit for another 20 minutes.

I could not imagine then — and still cannot — what he could have had to repent for, but at least now I understand the mindset from which his tears flowed. A truly great Jew is distinguished by the scorching self-scrutiny to which he constantly subjects himself. He lives acutely conscious that every thought and action is directly before G-d.

For him, the familiar distinction between public and private morality does not exist, for nothing we do is ultimately private. Every single moment must be accounted for, because each moment is imbued with the potential to bring holiness into the world. When we use that potential properly, we too are spiritually elevated, and when we fail, we descend. Standing pat is not one of the options.

WHEN I was in Yale Law School, I never imagined myself spending the better part of a day each year enumerating my failings in excruciating detail. My classmates and I assumed as a matter of course that we were good people, and that academic success and moral superiority went hand in hand.

We gave scant thought to how we ourselves might become better. Our efforts were devoted to figuring out how we could use the law to force the cretins of the world — just about everybody else in our judgment — to do what is right. My classmates and I were more pernicious than most only in our cocky assumption of the right to impose our views on others. But in our lack of self-scrutiny and effort to make ourselves into better people, we were typical of our society.

Self-help books proliferate everywhere. Their focus, however, is rarely on how to become a better person. Most offer only the secret elixir that will allow one to garner more of life's goodies. Peace of mind, we are assured, is primarily a process of learning to accept oneself for who one is.

The lazy tolerance of 'I'm OK; you're OK" has replaced the traditional view that a well-lived life is one shaped by some ideal of right behavior. Today, there is no more expectation that a person will conquer a bad temper than that he will change his hair color. 'That's the way I am. Take it or leave it,' would be the likely response to such an expectation.

Nowhere has this "feel good" philosophy run riot more than in the educational system. For nearly 30 years, American schools have been obsessed with self-esteem divorced from concrete achievement. The result: Asked to assess their math prowess, American students are the most likely in the world to rate themselves proficient, while, in fact, they rank near the bottom of the industrial world.

No concept so separates the Torah world from the outside society as that of 'working on oneself." For the Torah Jew, the words denote strenuous effort to improve one's character, a task that we are told can be harder than learning all of Talmud. In the outside world, the same words are more likely to conjure up the pursuit of firmer abdominal muscles.

This Yom Kippur may we all experience the joy of "working on ourselves" to become better people in the Divine image.

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JWR contributor Jonathan Rosenblum is a columnist, author and Israeli director of Am Echad. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


© 2005, Jonathan Rosenblum