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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 August 26, 2008 / 25 Menachem-Av 5768

Grandma gets lessons in staying cool

By Yaffa Ganz


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Older, Better, Smarter? Who says? Not my grandchildren who think that I have a lot to learn about the world out there. The world of the gan (playschool, kindergarten), the world of grammar school, high school, youth groups. The world of hikes, music, the army, and most of all, for the girls, the world of fashion. They just don't understand why some styles are downright ugly. I mean, if they're in style, then by definition, they're stylish, right? So what's wrong with the way they dress?

And of course, living in Israel, there's Hebrew. The kids, you see, speak a new language. Biblically based, perhaps, but there the relationship ends. Slang grows in leaps and bounds and reaches mind shattering proportions. If you don't keep up with it, you have a hard time following a conversation with anyone under twenty.

Classical music is boring; classical styles in clothing are out; speed limits and crossing on green lights aren't always necessary as long as you're careful; and looking before you leap . well, that's only for old people. Sometimes, the kids are right. But many other times, they're not.

Last week, a twelve year old tried to explain to me that ke'ilu (the Hebrew version of "like") was an important word. I mean, if you can't, ke'ilu, say it four times in every sentence, how can you possibly speak? Believe it or not, they can't.

A fifteen year old tried to explain that sticking a plug into your ear to listen to music while doing your homework improves concentration and his sixteen year old sister said it was absolutely vital for jogging.

And a perfectly lovely (and usually sane) bride and groom tried to explain why the decibel volume at their wedding had to shatter glass. Otherwise, things wouldn't be "simcha-dik [joyous]".

I absolutely love my grandkids and enjoy being with them. They are fresh, exuberant, idealistic, enthusiastic and absolutely wonderful. They teach me new words, open up new vistas, and fill me with youthful energy (at least for an hour or two) but I worry about them.

What will happen when they discover that employers and universities don't appreciate a constant flow of "k'ilu", and that while slang may be "in", to get "out" and around in the world, you have to speak a language. What will they do when they learn that Beautiful and Ugly are not merely in the eye of the beholder; that there truly is such a thing as Beauty and Harmony and it's not just a matter of style and taste. That following the rules may be a matter of life and death and that one day, you may just discover that your eardrums have gone on strike. I worry about these things.

The kids tell me that surely "my generation" had it's idiosyncracies too. I suppose we did, but it was all so long ago, that by now, they've melded into a pleasant, hazy memory. It seems to me, however, that whatever we did was less whacky than what they're doing nowadays. At least we didn't make more than one set of holes in our ears!

But then something happens (and in Israel, it happens often). Any little crisis (or big one, we shouldn't know from them!) and the kids are out there on the front lines. Helping, caring, giving. Collecting, driving, donating, organizing. It never fails to amaze me how kids who "chill" out and hang around so long and so often, who waste so much time and who aren't interested in long philosophical discussions (we were big on philosophy at their age) can, at the drop of a yarmulke, turn into such serious, competent, qualified doers.

Where did they learn it? How do they know what to do, and how do they get it done? When I watch them, or listen to them, I begin to understand that sometimes, understanding works backwards. Instead of always looking ahead to see what they will eventually become, we should turn around to see how amazingly marvelous they are right now, even with the serial sets of earrings, the audio-visual attachments, the digital paraphernalia, and whatever comes next.

I may be able to help them with their English, but they help me stay afloat in the mainstream. And if I can't keep up, they shlep me along. It's tiring but invigorating. And challenging, because I do feel that there's stil a place for a little sound advice and helpful knowledge from an older source. Of course they rarely listen. I suppose we didn't either.

Kid-bashing is widespread adult entertainment. But all jokes aside, these are not light-headed kids. They are facing a fast, frightening and volatile world, one we never knew. And most of them are doing their darndest to stay grounded and hang on. Here in Israel, they're regular participants in funerals — too many of them. (I was fifteen when I first attended a funeral but I didn't attend another until seven years later.) They are kids who have seen, or just barely missed, terror attacks. Kids who learn first aid because it's as necessary as brushing your teeth. And the army for most of the boys — and a year or two of National Service for the girls - looms large. It's a chunk of life they give generously, and with love, to their people, their Land.

So I guess they deserve their years of freedom and growing up; of playing cool, speaking slang, listening to deafening music, wearing silly styles and thinking that they are strong enough to take on anything that life dishes up. Life will "dish up" it's courses soon enough. And our kids will roll up their sleeves and take on the challenge. Meanwhile, I'm trying to keep up with them and stay cool.

May the Divine give them the wisdom and the strength to prevail. And perhaps, hopefully, they'll be the ones to make this a better world — even if it comes wrapped in like, ke'ilu and a lot of noise!

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JWR contributor Yaffa Ganz is the award-winning author of more than forty titles, including "A Different Dimension".


ENJOY THIS COLUMN?

We recommend you pick up "A Different Dimension", the author's latest.

From contemplating the complexities of candlesticks to pondering the power of computers -- with every imaginable topic in between -- this book is a delight for the mind and the soul; a fresh, original look at life.


© 2006, Yaffa Ganz