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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 Sept. 28, 2005 / 24 Elul, 5765

Civilization's caffeinated contents

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | WASHINGTON — Contemplating the reconstruction of areas decimated by Hurricane Katrina — not to mention ways to save civilization — I find a single word unavoidable: Starbucks.

Love or hate the globe-gobbling coffee giant, if you build one, they will come.

No matter where you shop or stop these days, there seems to be a Starbucks nearby — at Target stores, in gas stations, in airports. They're, of course, ubiquitous in Barnes & Noble bookstores. There's even a Starbucks now at the Great Wall of China.

In this nation's capital, if you tell someone to meet you at Starbucks at certain intersections, you have a choice. Which corner? Which Starbucks? They're everywhere.

No matter how many materialize, seemingly overnight, there's almost always a line and nary a table for those who want to prop up laptops — including, famously, President George W. Bush's former speechwriter and now policy adviser, Michael Gerson, who wrote Bush's speeches at a Starbucks near the White House.

The Barnes & Noble in Georgetown sometimes can resemble a Metro station during rush hour. Few bars or restaurants have more traffic on a weekend night. On a recent Saturday evening, I noted families seated together reading and sipping drinks, while couples hovered over magazines or laptops. B&N isn't just a place to buy books anymore; it's a date destination.

Which brings me to my point. If you want people to gather, whether in a retail shop, a grocery store, a devastated coast or a blighted urban area — even a public library where few go to read anymore — build a Starbucks, or something like it. B&N, thanks in no small part to the seductive smell of coffee, has become the new public library.

Put it this way: When was the last time you couldn't find a seat at your local branch? When was the last time you went to the library on a Saturday night? For fun. Just to browse. Please, if you're that guy, don't write. It's OK. I'm sure there's someone out there for you.

In fact, public libraries are struggling in the Internet age when millions have easy access to information without leaving home or office. Having noticed the marketing success of Starbucks, some universities, and even a few high school libraries, are now offering coffee. Vendors can be found in libraries at Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Richmond, the University of Tennessee, the University of Pittsburgh and Auburn University, to name a few.

Students reportedly are clamoring for the library. Who'da thunk? Brew it and they will come.

The stunning success of Starbucks is more than a coffee story and speaks to something beyond the quality of the brew, though it is good. Starbucks is a metaphor for something that went missing in the culture and that the Seattle-based company seems to have found. Coffee isn't the thing; it's merely a road sign on the human map — the new North Star, the campfire in the dark wood, the kitchen hearth.

Yes, people like caffeine flavored with caramel and topped with whipped cream, but more than a jolt, they like human community.

In an increasingly sterile, impersonal, often-hostile, road-rage, broken-family society, people yearn for security, warmth and human connection. A few round tables and chairs offer sanctuary and the possibility of camaraderie. Suddenly, the bookstore isn't just another institutional environment, but is a homey, welcoming, friendly, democratic, uplifting place to unwind.

If you're alone in the big city, you can always go to the bookstore, grab a cuppa java, leaf through a few magazines and feel like you're part of the human race. Implicit in the sounds of espresso machines hissing and the smell of fresh ground coffee is an invitation to sit a spell.

"Here," says the invisible host. "Let me fix you a cup of coffee. You like to read?"

The phenomenon of Starbucks is secular communion. Scones and coffee, after all, aren't so far removed from the ritualized consumption of grape juice and bread; they just taste better.

The lesson isn't that everyone needs to drink more coffee, or if they do, that it necessarily be Starbucks. At Mount Holyoke in Massachusetts, students protested Starbucks at the college's library, preferring a local vendor. But what's clear is that if you build places where human beings feel welcome to sit a spell, to talk and share a cup of coffee, they will come. We might keep that in mind as we reinvent what Katrina laid to waste.

Civilization won't suffer in the process if millions jazzed on java juice happen upon a book they can't put down.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

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