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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 March 7, 2007 / 17 Adar, 5767

Passport to adventure or maybe not

By Lenore Skenazy


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The line at the airport ticket counter took forever, but at last our boys were giddily weighing themselves on the baggage scale (stop that!) as we handed over our tickets to paradise: One week in Mexico for the whole family.


"Passports please," said the agent.


Beaming, my husband handed these over, too.


"FOUR passports," the agent said.


And that, my husband said later, is when his heart plunged. "Four?" he asked. "The kids need passports, too?"


"Since Jan. 23," the agent replied.


Next thing you know, we were in a taxi barreling back to our apartment, our cheery driver saying, "I keep getting folks like you!"


Idiots, in other words. Idiots who missed the apparently millions of warnings in the media: "NEW PASSPORT RULES GOING INTO EFFECT!" The driver was so used to folks like us, in fact, that he drove us home on a special route. "That's the office you want to go to tomorrow morning," he pointed. "Passport office. They'll set you right up."


And maybe they would have. But when we reached the office by phone, a recorded voice told us the next available appointment was in two weeks. And when we called one of the private companies that specialize in last-minute passport procurement (there are plenty of them on the Web), the agent said there was no way she could get us out fast. Her agency was totally booked up, too, thanks to the new rule decreeing that birth certificates are no longer enough. Now every American, even a newborn, needs a passport to fly to Mexico, Canada or most of the Caribbean isles.


So, next thing you know, we were in the car, barreling down to Washington, D.C.


Our goal was not to picket the State Department. We were just trying to salvage ourselves a nice little family vacation. You know, the kind with gray skies, whipping winds and the small ransom you pay for a last-minute hotel room. (Chilly draft, gratis!)


Did the kids care we weren't headed to Mexico? Please. One boy got a giant penny at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and it was like we gave him a puppy. He rolled that penny down the D.C. sidewalks, showed it off to strangers and placed it next to his plate when he ate. Pure love. His older brother, meanwhile, basked in several thrilling days of candy bars for dessert. "Twix? Really? Hooray!" So, all in all, it was a fantastic trip. (We also saw the Smithsonian.)


Upon our return to reality, however, I wanted to find out if the cabbie was right — did a whole lot of idiots spend their vacations the way we did?


They did.


"Yesterday we were supposed to get on a plane to Aruba," said a foot surgeon named Vadim Nekritin. He'd gotten to the airport and discovered his toddler needed a passport. "I lost approximately $1,500 and two days of my trip."


"How do you feel?" I probed.


"Wonderful."


I asked for that.


The regional passport agency our cabbie had recommended looked like something out of "Gone With The Wind." Remember the scene where the soldiers are lying on the train tracks, groaning? Except, for train tracks substitute lines.


The State Department says its processing times have not slowed down since the new law went into effect. It still takes about eight weeks if you file for a passport at your post office, said spokeswoman Janelle Hironimus, and about two weeks (unless you can prove it's an emergency) if you go to your regional office and pay a $60 fast track fee.


If, however, it turns out you've totally blown it and cannot take your dream vacation, consider this: Man plans, G-d laughs. But when man buys a giant penny and some candy and his kids laugh, too, well — that's what I call a pretty great vacation.

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© 2007, Creators Syndicate

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