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December 2, 2014

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 21, 2014 / 21 Nissan, 5774

Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

By Christine M. Flowers




JewishWorldReview.com | In the hierarchy of saints, martyrs are on the highest rung of the celestial ladder, at least for me.

While I love St. Bernadette with her story of mystical vision, it's St. Maria Goretti — the child who surrendered her life to protect her purity — who animates my faith. St. Therese of Lisieux is an example of the glory we can find in small things but the Little Flower doesn't inspire me like Joan of Arc, who died in a maelstrom of fire. And while St. Francis of Assisi with his gentle ways is a hero to our current, beloved pope, I'm drawn to St. Sebastian, a Roman soldier who paid for his conversion to Christ in a barrage of piercing arrows.

My preference for those who were tested through the crucible of physical suffering is, I'll admit, a bit macabre. Today, we are taught that torturers are evil (which is of course correct) and that its victims are just that, victims. But to Catholics, there has always been something particularly ennobling about a person whose faith is so unshakable that it transcends terrestrial agony. They are heroic examples of the human spirit's infinite power.

Last week, we were given just such an example, and while the story is painful, we should take notice on this Good Friday.

The Rev. Frans van der Lugt, 75, a Dutch Jesuit who had spent the last four decades ministering to children, the poor and the mentally disabled in Homs, Syria, was assassinated last Monday, according to a Vatican source. He was abducted by unidentified gunmen, beaten and then executed in front of his monastery.


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Father van der Lugt was an outspoken critic of Bashar Assad. The dictator has not focused on the religion of his victims, targeting Muslim and Christian alike. Politics is all that matters: If you support Assad you are an ally and if you oppose him, a traitor. It's not a simple calculus, and given the fact that some of the rebels who are seeking to depose the Assad regime are Islamist enemies of the west, you can understand why governments like our own have been hesitant to step in.

But now they are killing priests, and they are killing priests whose only crime is speaking out against the persecution of innocents. It is time, finally, for us to take a stand, because if a 75-year-old Jesuit has more courage than Uncle Sam and his mighty battalions, we no longer deserve respect in the international community.

Father van der Lugt used his voice as his weapon, speaking out strongly and clearly about the abuses that the Assad regime was committing against its own people (and, more covertly, against the people of Lebanon.) Given an opportunity to escape Syria earlier this year when a U.N.-brokered ceasefire permitted some of the Homs residents to leave, Father van Der Lugt stayed. He stayed because he didn't want the people who looked to him for spiritual support to feel abandoned, saying, "The Syrian people have given me so much, so much kindness, so much inspiration and everything they have. If the Syrian people are suffering now, I want to share their pain and their difficulties."

It is perhaps difficult for citizens of this country of rights and privilege to understand what it means to live in a state of war. Many of the older, greatest generation who suffered the collateral privations of World War II have some understanding of what it means to be hungry, but not since the Civil War have bullets ripped through our cities and towns (except, of course, the ones we aim at each other out of twisted criminality).



But even though we may not be able to empathize, we need to sympathize with men, women and most especially children who have slipped from the front pages of the newspapers but who are still behind that "line" President Obama said could not be crossed without responsive action from the United States.

So, where is that action? Are we going to shrug our shoulders and say "it's their problem" or "it's complicated" or "the rebels are worse than Assad"? We were able to say that before and hide in the thicket of politics.

But the courage of a modern martyr, a man who stared down his persecutors and made the supreme sacrifice, should shame us into action, even if that action is simply to scream out "STOP!" It's a start.

My church urges forgiveness, but I cannot forgive the assassination of an elderly Jesuit. What I can do is ask all of you, on this very special Friday, to remember his name and realize that the people of Syria are no different than the people on our buses, in our schools and at our tables. If we can remember that, and understand that Father van der Lugt stood up for their humanity in the face of inhumanity, his martyrdom will not have been in vain.

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.

Christine M. Flowers Archives

Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News.

© 2014, Philadelphia Daily News. Distributed by MCT Information Services

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