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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 March 16, 2011 / 10 Adar II, 5771

Simon Bolivar Would Tell Glenn Beck to, ‘Put A Sock In It’

By Alan Douglas




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When faced with disasters or puzzles we all try to understand the meaning of life. It surely can't be random patterns. People yearn for those answers deep within our soul, seek explanations and reassurance. After Katrina decimated New Orleans we heard it was divine vengeance. Now, Glen Beck tells us the earthquakes and tsunami that killed thousands could also be the Lord's work. Glen Beck has a lot in common with my mother.

My mother was convinced that bathrooms are death pits. She discouraged guests in her home from using her facilities, not due to privacy or hygiene concerns. She wanted to save them from meeting the grim reaper. She vividly recalled seeing my father, who was in perfect health; die in the bathroom. Her brother also died in a bathroom. "Every time someone goes in my bathroom, I worry" my mother lamented, adding, "I just don't want it to happen again." My argument to her, in defense of bathrooms around the world, was not persuasive. I counseled, "The bathroom was not at fault; it didn't cause anyone to die." "Elvis died in the bathroom," my mother countered. My mother's fears and Glen Beck's warnings are not without precedent.

In Cairo, Egypt a large statue of a homely man dressed in an eighteenth century military uniform, complete with saber, dominates one of the bustling city squares. It is Liberation Square. Venezuela honored Simon Bolivar, their founding father and the liberator of many South and Central American nations, by giving the Egyptian people this statue. Simon Bolivar is world-renowned. Bolivia was named after him. Even more prestigious, a town in West Virginia, Bolivar, immortalizes the man and has a statue similar to the one in Cairo. The rugged, individualistic mountaineers of West Virginia felt a kinship to Bolivar and his battles against the big city boys. When I was in Caracas, Venezuela, the guide there informed me of the story behind one of that city's town squares. It was one of thousands of town squares name, "Bolivar Square" just as we have a zillion Washington Streets in the United States. But this particular piece of real estate, this Bolivar Square, actually had a tale to tell.

When Bolivar was fighting the Spanish to liberate Venezuela there was a terrible earthquake. It was responsible for many deaths and much destruction. In the midst of all of their grief, the people of Venezuela sought relief through their misery. The Spanish priests warned the people that earthquakes which brought with them death and destruction were a sign from G-d. The people had sinned by rebelling against the church, as well as their rulers. The priests said that G-d, as he had done before in the bible, was punishing them for their sins. G-d was showing them the errors of their destructive ways. G-d was also urging them to return to the path of righteousness in hopes of avoiding his wrath. They urged the people to stop their fighting and, instead, accept the authority of the Lord, the church, and the government of Spain. It is not surprising that many were convinced to lay down their weapons and repent. Democracy and the rebellion were at risk.

Simon Bolivar heard of the sermon and immediately traveled to the heart of the destruction. Amid the crumbled buildings of this town square in Caracas he assembled the people. He gave a speech. Bolivar told the crowd to look around them and make up their own minds. Was their G-d a G-d who would destroy both good and evil in an earthquake? Would he really kill innocent children? And pointing to the rubble that once was a church, Bolivar challenged, "Why were the churches destroyed if G-d was sending a sign?" He urged the people to reject this superstition. He accused the Spanish of promoting superstition to manipulate and control the people of Venezuela. He strongly believed in a person's faith in, not fear of, G-d. He, too, believed they should acquire faith in themselves as well as their future. He cautioned that independence carries with it the burden of thinking.

Bolivar was successful in convincing the crowd that the earthquake was simply that, an earthquake and nothing more. It was a bad thing, yes, but it was not some type of divine punishment. That day, he rallied for support of the revolution and independence by opposing superstition. Disasters, natural or personal, will always test one's faith. We, as beings, seek comfort, and comfort is only found when explanations are given to us. But a nation's independence, and individual independence of thought, are essential concepts when regarding the truth. If Bolivar he and my mother could talk about bathrooms.

There are times in everyone's life when we see patterns of peril and an ominous natural threat aimed at us. We watch as others, less talented, not as ethical, or filled with meanness, pass us by. We are haunted by our own past failures and feel doomed. There is so much we have all done wrong and much that we have all screwed up. We bear witness to amazing opportunities we had once, which we failed to capitalize on. But now, stop it. Put those thoughts aside. Stop your weeping and woeful thoughts and take a moment to claim the right of survivorship.

We, as a people, are older, wiser, and much, much more wary. Despite the personal devastation and chaos that encumber our lives, we are still here. Our hurts and harm aside, we have built "buildings," with our own sweat, blood, smiles, and tears that were strong enough to withstand the earthquakes of life. Our friendships, love, good deeds, and professional accomplishment have all survived somehow and, in turn, continue to illuminate our lives. Earthquakes are, without a doubt, a tragedy, but they are in no way a sign of G-d's discontent with us. There is no target pinned on our back. A natural disaster does not automatically mean that G-d no longer loves us. The injustice of a jerk getting a promotion or of our losing the one we love is not G-d's plan. Those are human, not divine, misdeeds. One of the lessons I have learned throughout my life is that we must, at some time live with fear and failure. The meaning of one's faith is our strength, while what we fear is within our weakness. Earthquakes should be feared, and maybe so should bathrooms…but not because they strike down sinners. The Reverend Billie Sunday said, "I could not abide by a G-d who does not smite!" But no matter how, or who, you worship, do not use natural disasters that kill innocents to prove your own point of view using the Lord. It besmirches and degrades any deity.

Simon Bolivar would have told Glen Beck, "Put a sock in it" and so should you.

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.

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JWR contributor Alan Douglas, an author, media executive, speaker, and attorney, lives con brio- except when he is grumpy.


Previously:

Children and Grandchildren
Swearing, Shoes, and Mark Twain
How my poor man's Porsche, Virgil, prepared me for life
Leases and Landing Gear
The Oscars, Obama and Job Creation
Damages and Penalties
Obstacles with Impossibilities
Making Others Feel Bad
Referrals and Recommendations
Woodpecker Frustration
Phrases, Not Resolutions
I Was A Crime Fighter and Super Hero
Comforting with Sympathizing
Nautical Worry Killers
Can You Keep A Secret?
Holiday Card Hazards
Gifts
Sharing, Transparency and Dumping
Red Alert
Readers Respond Regarding Rabbi
Readers: I Need Your Help with my Rabbi
Humphrey Bogart and P. T. Barnum on Fighting with Family and Friends
Columbus, Honors and Hound Dogs
The Free Lunch
When your child suffers
Conversational Transmitted Diseases
Conservative, Liberal or American
Paris, Antarctica and Shopping
Personal Protection
Dispute Resolution
Jumped or Pushed?
Friends and Acquaintances
Revenge and Vindication

© 2010 Alan Douglas

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