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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 July 15, 2009 / 23 Tamuz 5769

Nancy Drew, Supreme: What a Girl Detective Helped Teach a Judge

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Doubtless thousands of other women's ears perked up when Sen. Charles Schumer, introducing Sonia Sotomayor at Monday's confirmation hearing, mentioned the Latina jurist's girlhood affection for Nancy Drew books.


The smart, plucky girl-detective was a role model for many women who recognized themselves in Nancy — including Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Sandra Day O'Connor and Laura Bush, to name a few.


Add yours truly to the list.


My father introduced to me to Nancy Drew when I was in the fifth grade. He and I sat side by side on the living room couch to read the first book together, taking turns reading aloud. Thus began my long love affair with reading, encouraged by the fact that television viewing wasn't allowed on weekdays and book reading was the only exemption from hard labor, a.k.a. "chores."


By the end of the school year, I had completed the entire collection, a victory of art over temperament. I often became so excited by plot twists that I couldn't sit still and would run laps through the downstairs rooms until I calmed down enough to focus on another paragraph.


Nancy Drew was a natural fit for me. She and I both were raised primarily by our lawyer-fathers. Both of our mothers had died when we were 3. Favorite titles corresponded to my own experience (the early rumblings of empathy?) and home, names such as "The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion," "The Hidden Staircase," "The Secret in the Old Attic."


We didn't live in a mansion, but our house was old and spooky — a Spanish colonial revival-style stucco situated among moss-draped oaks, with a tile roof and a curious cupola perched over the living room, a broad front porch with a stone balustrade, and a secret staircase adjacent to my room that led to a cavernous cedar closet in which dwelled an evil spirit. Or so I was convinced.


How clever were the writers of these books, who understood the secret yearnings of little girls in love with mystery and hidden things. Other words sprinkled among the titles were baited fields to the ripe imagination — phantom, ghost, witch, haunted, mysterious, charm. It didn't hurt that Nancy Drew had a spiffy roadster and could throw on a summer frock faster than you could say "hiya."


Nancy could do anything, and a generation of girls who lived vicariously through her heroic adventures assumed they could, too. But Nancy didn't so much inspire as reflect girls' blossoming self-image and the spirit of the times. Thus, girls as diverse as Oprah, Sotomayor and a certain WASP from down South could see themselves in the same absurdly talented, teenage sleuth.


The importance of this identification with an accomplished member of one's own sex can't be overestimated. The same applies to boys as well, but that is a subject for a separate column. Actually, I wrote a book — "Save the Males."


But when Sotomayor and I were girls, there were few girl-oriented books and fewer female professional role models. On my weekly visit to the public library, I checked out as many women's biographies as I could find, searching for someone with whom I could identify.


These recollections are recounted to illustrate that we are all products of our life experiences. The empathy I feel for motherless children is boundless. My understanding of the world, having grown up a minority in an all-male household, feeling outside the mainstream of whole families, is different from those who had both a mother and a father.


And though I never requested nor wanted special consideration, my sense of the world as I navigated the testosterone-rich environment of America's old newsrooms as one of relatively few women is not the same as that of my male counterparts.


If I were a judge, I would bring to the bench all those experiences and the accumulated wisdom derived from them. I do not think that would make me a less-fair or less-objective jurist than the men on either side of me. I am certain, however, that my intellectual makeup does not exist independently of the emotions that helped form me.


As a Latina from a Bronx housing project reared by a single mother, Sotomayor knows things the other justices on the Supreme Court can't possibly know. She may be the wrong choice for other reasons, but not because she recognizes that the law, properly applied, requires both brains and heart.


If it were otherwise, a robot would do.

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