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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 Jan. 26, 2006 / 26 Teves, 5766

The character-building properties of sweaters

By Garrison Keillor


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I wake up and bounce out of bed in a pleasant mood and then notice that I can see my breath. There is frost on the bathroom mirror and a thin sheet of ice in the toilet. So I trot downstairs and turn up the thermostat. I like the house to be cozy, as if we had a blazing fire in each room, but I am married to Nanook of the North, who feels that in a world of finite resources a person of character can put on a warm sweater and be comfortable at 58 degrees; the house does not need to re-create the womb.


The furnace rumbles in the basement, and I make coffee and fetch the paper. Then she appears in the kitchen in her woolens and says, "The thermostat was set at 85. Do we have elderly people coming for breakfast?" I explain that I had found the thermostat set low — did the stock market crash during the night? Have we become paupers? "Put on a sweater," she says. "It's not Poland, 1938," I say.


"Poland, 1938" is our code term for poverty. The closest I came to it was in 1967, when my first wife and I moved into her parents' basement, a room with a concrete floor and joists above with heating ducts snaking around, and sponged off them for a few months so I could try writing fiction. My mother-in-law Marjorie was the soul of kindness and never intimated by word or raised eyebrow that this arrangement was anything but normal. I think back on that with gratitude and amazement. Parents: the Guggenheim Foundation of First Resort. I hope I said thank you to Marj and Gene. But a 25-year-old can have a large sense of entitlement. When I think back to 1967, I feel good and guilty.


I felt guilty about it again last Sunday morning. In our church we kneel for confession, and there's not room between the pews for a tall man to kneel comfortably (and why should confession be comfortable?) so you must fold yourself up and twist into position — it's like trying to make love in the back seat of an old VW — and by the time you get to the things you have left undone, such as saying thank you to your in-laws 40 years ago, your lower back hurts. And you have left out a lot of bad stuff. We read the confession at a good clip, which is fine for the aged and infirm, but for me, a man with a good memory, there is a backlog of material. How can you sweep all of life's nastiness under the line "Forgive us for that which we have done" and feel absolved? We should hand out worksheets, with plenty of space under Lust and Pride and Anger and Covetousness and Others, for people to write out their recollections and use the back of the sheet if they need more space.


I suppose we trot through the confession because our sins are such dreary stuff, small potatoes, a snarky comment here, some low-grade neglect, some vague lustful thoughts triggered by lingerie ads, nothing heroic like Clytemnestra shacking up with Aegisthus after Agamemnon sailed off to the Trojan War, then she and the lover offing Ag with an axe, only to be done in by Ag and Cly's son Orestes, meanwhile Electra has gone nuts — this sort of thing is rare up here on the frozen tundra. Not that we are better people. But maybe turning the thermostat down is how we put the damper on our darker tendencies. Nanook may be onto something.


If you learn nothing else from great literature, at least you learn that the nicest people are capable of the darkest deeds. If you don't know that, then you are not a functioning adult. Perfectly lovely, well-behaved children active in church groups suddenly show up in the paper, accused of heinous crimes. Blame it on secular schools, if you like, or video games or high sugar consumption. But it may be that the thermostat was kept too high. Heat relaxes the inhibitions, and soon you start to think about stealing from your mother and getting hopped up on happy dust. It doesn't matter that you went to Sunday school regularly. The heart wants what it wants.


So chill, children. Put on a sweater. When tempted, go outdoors and lie in the snow and make angels.

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.

Garrison Keillorís "A Prairie Home Companion" can be heard Saturday nights on public radio stations across the country. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2006 by Garrison Keillor. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, INC.

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