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 June 27, 2008 / 24 Sivan 5768

An Illegitimate Culture

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It was such a good story: Teen girls make pregnancy pact.

What?! No!! America's presses didn't exactly screech to a halt, but the media lapped up the story, with reporters descending on tiny Gloucester, Mass., from as far away as Brazil and Poland.

Teens making a pact to get pregnant enjoyed several news cycles not because it was so unbelievable, but because it was, alas, so believable.

And, because it's summer.

And the Democratic primaries are over.

Which is to say, we were due a sensational blockbuster with some sexual sizzle: Teen girls gone wild!

The salacious saga had all the elements we crave in a good yarn. Sex, teens, politics, illegitimacy — and then some. There was even a homeless sperm donor, presumably seduced by one of the girls in order to join her chums in Labor & Delivery.

Except it wasn't quite true. There are apparently 17 (maybe) pregnant girls in Gloucester High School — which would be four times the usual pregnancy rate — but officials now say the pact was post-preggo rather than a conspiracy to become pregnant.

Or was it? As waistlines thicken, so goes the plot.

The original story, broken by Time magazine, was based on comments by the school principal, who said the recent spike in teen pregnancies was the result of a pact among some of the girls. The principal has now been overruled, both by the town's mayor and by the mothers-to-be, some of whom are enjoying a very short date with fame.

Pregnant Lindsey Oliver, 17, who appeared on "Good Morning America" with her baby's father, Andrew Psalidas, 20, said the girls became pregnant by coincidence, after which they agreed to help each other out.

The couple said they hadn't intended to have a child and were simply unlucky. Now, they're just trying to do the right thing. Why all the fuss?

Teenagers getting pregnant is, indeed, less interesting without a conspiracy. How the pact story got started is unclear. The principal is taking a timely vacation and has offered no further comment. Confirming the pregnancies, meanwhile, has proved problematic owing to privacy concerns.

Without the pact, we're merely left with the crude banality of several babies about to be born to children and a few dozen dangling questions unanswered.

Here's one: Where's Dad? Not the "fathers" of these unfortunate pre-borns, but the fathers of these pregnant girls. Where, in other words, is the shotgun?

Back in the day when birth control and abortion weren't readily available to high school kids, fathers were pretty good deterrents to pregnancy. Boys knew they'd have kneecap problems if they got daddy's little girl pregnant. If they were lucky, they'd be married by the morning after.

Girls, meanwhile, were less likely to risk pregnancy because alternatives to motherhood were few, adoption being the most likely.

It wasn't a foolproof system, clearly, but the specter of lifelong consequences, combined with societal and parental disapproval, helped keep the illegitimate birthrate down.

Today, using the term "illegitimate" is more likely to spark disapproval than the activities contributing to the plague of unwed pregnancies. For sure there are far fewer fathers around to give young males The Eye. It is a fair guess, though not possible to confirm at this point, that at least some of Gloucester's pregnant daughters are from fatherless homes.

That guess is founded on sound social science indicating a strong correlation between father absence and a high risk for early sex and unwed pregnancy. Not only do fathers provide the masculine affection so many girls seek elsewhere, but they teach their daughters how to handle male sexual aggression, as well as to understand their own role in stimulating that aggression.

Thus far, there's been little mention of the family dynamic that often foretells the tragedy of children having children. Instead, most of the debate has centered on whether these girls and boys had enough access to sex education and contraceptives.

Other conversations have circled around the influence of movies, such as "Juno," that glamorize teen pregnancy. In the movie, 16-year-old Juno is adorably pregnant and far wiser than the film's adults.

Whatever happened in Gloucester, we know this much. Today's girls and boys daily marinate in a culture that offers little instruction in responsibility and self-control — or the importance of marriage as antecedent to procreation — but celebrates single motherhood and encourages sex without strings.

The surprise isn't that 17 girls are pregnant at one high school. The surprise is that there aren't more.

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