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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 Nov. 15, 2004 / 2 Kislev, 5765

Don't Go, Jim McGreevey!

By Julia Gorin


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Warning: The following article is a diss on the majority of the electorate of the state of New Jersey. Those New Jerseyans to whom it does not apply need not take offense


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | New Jersey deserves you. At least 55% of it does. Just like it deserves John Kerry, John Edwards, Jon Bon Jovi, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Torricelli and Al Gore.


I may be one of only a handful of Manhattanites who like to visit the Garden State, but every time I do, the genesis of all those "bridge and tunnel" jokes is illuminated, and it becomes painfully clear how New Jerseyans habitually choose candidates that end up burning them and getting removed at first opportunity (McGreevey, Torricelli, Florio, DiFrancesco). Manhattan satellites like Hoboken apart, on the other side of the tunnel a distinct lack of thought activity is palpable. This is not the same as stupidity, for it's the sense of something not being tapped, of minds resting in the "off" position or on permanent relax mode. While certainly the state has its share of thinking individuals, the place itself recently prompted a friend to ask, "Did the Garden State get its name because the people are vegetables?"


Though the last of the four politicians named earlier belongs to a Republican former governor who was voted out after numerous ethics allegations, the state's corruption- and scandal-ridden politics are mostly Democratic. Yet Jersey people seem like they should be natural Republicans: hard-working, family-oriented middle- and working-class folks in denim, leather and cigarette smoke, who mind their own business. How did such regular folks get co-opted by the party of progressives, environmentalists, Marxists, peaceniks and Muslims? Granted, it's also the party of big labor — and New Jersey does have the thuggish, greedy, "gimme"-minded unionista component that soils its blue-collar charm. But the prior juxtaposition is pronounced enough to warrant addressing. It's a dichotomy perhaps best illustrated by the state's two classic rock heroes, Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, who spent the year rocking the wrong vote. It was the first time either artist prominently took political sides, and it was the election year that featured the weakest Democratic candidate in recent history — one whose reason for being mystified even his own campaigners ("He had no message;" "Why did he even want to become president?" etc…) And it was also Al Gore's anti-war speech in which the former vice president officially came unhinged and went Michael Moore, which Springsteen felt inspired to post on his Web site, calling it "one of the most important speeches I've heard in a long time."


This is what can happen to an unexercised brain when it finally tunes in and first hears something that sounds smart but doesn't require too much mental stamina to digest. The brain buys what's being said, along with the worldview that the smart-sounding thought is being espoused through. The Boss, like many other New Jersey folk, doesn't make the intellectual connection between how he lives his life and how the party he supports should reflect it. This leaves him wide open and up for grabs. Unfortunately, the side doing most of the grabbing is the left.

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Enter the media. Where the mind has a vacancy, the media will fill it. And in the unthinking masses of Jersey, our liberal media have done their programming. As to the primary forms that the media take there — in contrast to the national trend of increasing reliance on the wider range of news and perspectives available on the Internet and cable — for a great many of the plain folk in Jersey, it seems to have remained the local paper (Newark Star-Ledger, Philadelphia Inquirer) and TV network news.


This may partially account for the angry glares I've gotten while performing political comedy in the Garden State, despite the accessibility of the jokes. During a six-show week at "Catch a Rising Star" in Princeton a few years ago, one crowd after another let its hostility to thinking comedy be known. There was resentment at my very presumption of making them think when they just wanted to drink. They didn't want their minds engaged, period. Fortunately for the audience, mine was just a 10-minute opening for two pleasant road hacks, the edgier of whom offered a joke about incest in Alabama as the risqué punch line of the evening.


A year later, I was performing in post-9/11 New Jersey, in a family restaurant rather than a club for comedy goers, and the people — young and old — expressed pleasant surprise at the political material, some even covering their mouths guiltily. This post-9/11 Jersey gave me hope.


So, more recently — and more cynically — did the Jim McGreevey affair; it gave me hope that the state neighboring New York would prove a wild card that surprised everyone on election day and chose George Bush over John Kerry. For, the one thing that snoozing minds are capable of besides being led, is reacting to jolting stimulus — as evidenced by the on-cue voter rebellion against Democrats after former Governor Jim Florio raised taxes in 1991. It was heartening that Jersey's masses made at least that connection, but depressing that they can be gotten through to only on such basic, reactionary, primitive levels. Alas, this time there was no getting through even on these levels.


A state of mindlessness begs for subjugation. It's no accident that New Jersey is one of the most heavily regulated states in the union. You can't pump your own gas, get affordable auto insurance, purchase a liquor license for under half a million or be on the shore without beach tags.


New Jersey certainly has its share of bright and talented people, and I've encountered many Garden Staters who make an impression. These are not the sleepwalkers being described, and they know who they are: they're the ones reading this article — having discovered the Internet by now as an alternative news source to the local broadsheet. Furthermore, they likely have intimate knowledge of the phenomenon being described here. Jersey also has had its share of good leaders, but I can't help marveling at the chaos-like randomness from which even the state's good choices take fruit.


But then, isn't that the case with national elections themselves — wherein we hope for just the right mix of wisdom, folly, knowledge, ignorance, passion, incidence, pro-Americanism, anti-Americanism, conscience, self-interest, magnanimity, pettiness and kismet.


Hopefully making things a little less random and getting ready to claim some of the up-for-grabs folk is the fledgling world of pro-American, conservative media. Every time its members see the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, it should serve as a reminder of the importance of capturing the minds of the mindless, and of focusing on places like New Jersey, where thinking happens against the odds and therefore demands the right kind of coaxing.

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JWR contributor Julia Gorin tours with Right Stuff Comedy and performs in the monthly New York-based show Republican Riot. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2004, Julia Gorin