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 Feb. 17, 2014 / 17 Adar I, 5774

Sharing our pain, anger and honesty

By Christine M. Flowers

Christine M. Flowers

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Nothing touches the psychological third rail as saying that "addicts are selfish." Since my column on Philip Seymour Hoffman first appeared online , I've been receiving emails from all over the country with various levels of outrage, self-righteousness and, most surprisingly, gratitude.

I expected the comments like "I want to bitch slap you" from the woman in Florida who said that her son had just died of a heroin overdose. The supercilious tsk-tsking from those in what I call the industrial-addiction complex was hardly surprising, either. They took me to task for my ignorance, including the self-described therapist who told me that she understood that I had the right to my opinion but that it was dangerous to express that opinion. It's as if calling Hoffman "selfish" would burden recovering addicts with unhealthy guilt. Personally, I think it is the lack of guilt that lies at the root of the injuries we inflict on others, if not ourselves.

But what really struck me with more force than the bolt that hit Saul on his way to Damascus was the volume of readers who agreed with me that Hoffman was selfish in failing to consider how his actions would affect his babies.

There, I said it again and will continue to say it until the last co-dependent parent writes to call me a jackass because his daughter just got out of rehab and I apparently don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

But I do, you see. I have never made a secret of the fact that my family has been touched by addiction, several generations' worth. Years ago, in a less generous age, it was called being a "lush" or a "dope fiend" or any other of the words we are now taught to avoid out of sympathy and good manners.

But it doesn't change the fundamental nature of the beast to wrap it up in shiny paper and place it alongside leukemia and cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy and say, "Look, it's a disease just like all the others," and that the addict is no less diseased than one of Jerry's Kids.

I disagree.

So, I was amazed to find out, do hundreds of others, all of whom wrote to tell me that they were surprised that I had the balls to speak truth to political correctness.

More than balls, it's just a deep-seated anger that comes from being forced to watch relative after friend after acquaintance destroy themselves and their families because they decided to stick that needle in their arm, or take that first hit of coke or, if they had the money of Hoffman, buy thousands of dollars' worth of heroin.

I have been schooled this week in the vocabulary of addiction. I have been told that the addict is out of control, that there are synapses in the brain that react to chemicals, that there are compulsions and obsessions that don't respond to reason and can't be halted by normal stimuli. The homegrown therapists and those who make a habit of attending Al Anon or reading self-help books were generous with their time, and their profanity.

But the great joy in this experiment was hearing from the family members who thanked me for validating their suffering, for pointing out that while an addict might very well be incapable of abandoning that road to destruction, the people who love him are justified in saying, "Enough, I'm finished, you have cut out my heart."

People like Sally, who said, "I am a survivor of breast cancer and lost both my parents to cancer — you said exactly what I think."

Like Connie, who said "I am sick of all the levels of sainthood Philip Seymour Hoffman has attained just by killing himself."

Like Nathanial, who admitted his addiction and said, "It's important to me not only to live for myself but for my family as well; when I lose sight of my purpose then I am on my way to my destruction."

People like Jim, who said "What Hoffman did was very selfish and I think that calling it what it is is the right thing to do — you can't just sugarcoat everything bad about society."

There were more, several hundreds more. And the emails are still pouring in.

It amazes me that there is this untapped well of pain out there, forced by a society of fabricated tolerance to remain hidden at the risk of being called vicious cruelty.

I have been conditioned to believe that my own strain of Spartan intolerance is unique, or shared only by those who have — as one writer said — hate in our hearts.

But voices from Indiana, Alaska, Miami, New York, San Diego, Iowa, Texas and Pennsylvania convince me that it's not.

There is love, yes, and support and a true desire to see the addict move on from his death valley into the light.

But there is also a willingness to say "enough!" and a refusal to be shamed into silence.

Hoffman's children deserve to be seen. Survivors deserve to be heard.

This is my thank you note to the ones who reached out.

• Archives

Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Comments by clicking here.

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