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 April 5, 2005 / 25 Adar II, 5765

Unsettling diversions

By Jonathan Tobin

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We look to sports for escape, but grim controversies are hard to elude

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A few years ago, when the controversy over Native American nicknames for sports teams was first boiling over, a rather politically incorrect thought popped into my head.

Whether silly or just stupid, most of the names all seemed to denote a symbol of strength, or at least, of ferocity. So when some wondered aloud how Jews would feel if teams were named the "rabbis," for instance, or the "Jews," I had a different reaction.

It occurred to me that if, in the Western imagination, the word "Jew" had conjured up images of ferocity and fearlessness in battle the way Indian names always did, then maybe the history of at least the first half of the 20th century would have been less unpleasant for the Jewish people. I still think that's an interesting possibility, but it appears that a Dutch soccer team is answering my supposition in a way I didn't quite anticipate.

According to a March 28 story reported by The New York Times, supporters of Amsterdam's Ajax soccer team call themselves "Jews," wave Israeli flags at games, and flaunt Star of David tattoos to prove their allegiance to their team. The origins of the identification of the team with Jews is somewhat hazy. But fans of other teams have always referred to Ajax as "the Jewish team," and Ajax's non-Jewish rooters have, apparently in defiance, taken the term as a badge of honor.

Lest you think this is merely a harmless manifestation of a sports subculture, it appears that Ajax's opponents are prepared to take the "Jews" at their word. Rooters for clubs from Rotterdam or the Hague have been known to chant "Hamas" at matches with Ajax. Even worse, they chant "Jews to the gas" or, as Times' correspondent Craig S. Smith ominously noted, simply hiss "to simulate the sound of gas escaping."

The team is trying to get its fans to drop the Jewish stuff to avoid these disgusting scenes, but both Ajax partisans and their rivals seem unlikely to drop either the Magen Davids or the anti-Semitic jeers.

All of which just exemplifies that European anti-Semitism is so virulent and adaptable a virus that it can find a haven even in the playing of games, where virtually no Jews compete.

Spectator sports are supposed to be havens from the travails of the real world. That's why so many of us, male and female, rely on them so heavily. For example, what else would unite a people as divided as the population of Israel (the real "Jews") as sports? Indeed, it is arguable that most Israelis are at least as obsessed with the possibility that their national soccer team will be able to win a coveted birth in next year's World Cup as they are about Knesset votes on disengagement from Gaza. After ties against favored France and Ireland this past week they might be on their way to a minor miracle.

To get into the World Cup tournament, the Israelis have to fight an uphill battle by playing against the more established European teams instead of their Middle Eastern neighbors. That's because Arab countries still won't play Israel, a prejudicial practice that has been accepted by soccer's international institutions.

Closer to home, for those who feel that the long winter is merely a prelude to a spring that brings us a new baseball season, even that sacred preserve of Americana is very much under attack. Some players may well have taken illegal steroids calling into question the legitimacy of their statistical achievements.

Some have compared the use of steroids to the infamous "Black Sox" scandal, in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox threw the 1919 World Series. That dismal chapter of history is unfortunately associated in some minds with Jews because of the accusation that New York gangster Arnold Rothstein was behind the fix.

Let us be grateful for small favors. After digesting the vile goings-on at Ajax soccer games and the obstacles placed in the path of the Israeli soccer team, it is at least some relief to note that no one appears to be blaming the use of steroids on the Jews.

Rothstein notwithstanding, the longstanding Jewish love affair with baseball was honored last summer when the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., noted the achievements of Jews at a ceremony that highlighted the publication last year of a set of baseball cards of all Jewish players in history of the Major Leagues (it is still available for a contribution to the American Jewish Historical Society at: www. ajhs.org).

While the number of Jewish players has indeed been small (142 Jews were honored with cards in the set), as set creator Martin Abramowitz has pointed out, the collective batting average of Jewish hitters is three points higher than that of all Major League players, and the collective earned run average of Jewish pitchers is .11 lower than that of all hurlers.

All of which proves nothing about Jewish life or baseball, but it does testify to the fact that we need not rely on fake identifications with teams, such as those in Holland, to participate in our national pastime.

Some scribes, not to mention grandstanding members of Congress, would like us to focus entirely on steroid use, which is illegal and perhaps even immoral, but it hasn't yet been established with certainty exactly how its use has affected the game.

You'll have to forgive me, but I would rather discuss whether former All-Star and top current Jewish player Shawn Green's gradual decline will be reversed by his trade from the Los Angles Dodgers to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Or will the departure of Gabe Kapler for Japan mean that the mazel he brought to the Boston Red Sox last year as a reserve on a World Champion team go with him? Along with other fans of the New York Yankees, Jew and non-Jew alike, I certainly hope so.

Either way, the return of baseball is a welcome break from the endless news cycle. This weekend, some of us will pause from our nonstop worrying about the world and instead begin to concentrate on runs, hits and errors. So let's rise for the national anthem, place our Hebrew baseball caps over our hearts, and silently give thanks to the G-d of Israel that it's time to play ball again!

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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