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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 May 23, 2005 / 14 Iyar, 5765

The Empire meets middle age

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For me, the "Star Wars" saga faded with "Episode VI: Return of the Jedi." It wasn't the cutesy Ewoks, although the teddy-bear warriors were irritating beyond belief. No, the big problem was the fact that Darth Vader, who had killed countless souls without hesitation and destroyed an entire planet just to make a point, nonetheless wholly redeemed himself by refusing to kill his own son. Thus Vader won a coveted spot in the afterlife sitting by the eternal campfire with Jedi good guys Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda.

The dead Darth-turned-Anakin looks happy, too. You can imagine him turning to his old chums, and saying, "Sorry about Alderaan. Have a nice day."

If only Hitler had sired a son. Then, after the Blitzkrieg and the Holocaust, Hitler might have had that redefining moment that would have gotten him in touch with his paternal inner self, and taken up gardening. Or origami.

The problem is, George Lucas has written a saga about evil, featuring the most infamous villain in film history, but he doesn't understand evil. As evidenced in the new release of "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," Lucas may not even know what "really bad" is.

Think of Lucas as one of those muddled liberals who think George Bush is evil, while Saddam Hussein is a piker. In an act that should be, but isn't, campy self-parody, the left-wing fanatics at Moveon.org have produced a new TV spot that depicts Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist "as a hooded villain who seeks absolute power over our courts." (Need I remind you, gentle reader, that if conservatives compared blocking the filibuster for appellate court nominees to mass annihilation, talking heads in tweed coats would be dismissing the analogy as dangerously over the top?) To round things out, let me add that Lucas' view on the very bad is analogous to conservatives whose darkest fear isn't Osama bin Laden, but Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Reviewers have been quick to note the nexus between President Bush's statement, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists," to Anakin Skywalker's pronouncement, "If you're not with me, you're my enemy." A coy Lucas told an audience in Cannes that he started writing "Star Wars" when Richard Nixon was president, and he sees strong "parallels" between Vietnam and Iraq.

Let me credit Lucas with this much. "The Phantom Menace" produced complaints that he engaged in facile racial stereotypes that demeaned Asians, Arabs and Africans. Since then, it is clear, Lucas learned that there is only one facile stereotype that is safe in Hollywood: Republican equals evil. Bush bad.

Fine by me. If Lucas wants to take the mantle of the Bush critics, be it understood that he spent jillions of dollars and made six epic — and let me add, very watchable — movies, just to make the point that a man can wipe out entire civilizations, and still have a germ of cuddly goodness in him.

What's more, that germ of goodness means more, at movies' end, than the countless children he has killed, the void with which he replaced entire communities and the dull misery he inflicted wherever he went.

Thus, we discover, as Obi-Wan says before the final light saber duel, that the Sith are evil (despite their germ of good?), not just for what they do, but because, "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." In Lucasworld, moral relativists are the real good guys in a universe of gore.

Which doesn't make sense because the Jedi do trade in absolutes, as does every tribe. They've got their rules, too — and they're pretty good rules, if they do become overly cumbersome, hokey and dangerous at times.

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Here's a sign, early in the movie, Lucas gives moviegoers that Anakin Skywalker is drifting toward the dark side. After hacking to death every body in his path, Anakin has an evil mastermind at his feet. Kill him, the future emperor coos.

Afterward, Anakin notes it is not the Jedi way to kill an "unarmed" man. Forget that this particular villain can't be unarmed as long as he has his mind. Forget that he is the reason so many others died, and the Jedi didn't fret about their end.

Most laughable: Of course he was unarmed. Anakin had just cut off his hands.

I sigh. In younger times, Lucas had a unique and dashing vision. Among dazzling special effects and in a universe far, far away, there was a hero with the simple message, "I'm Luke Skywalker. I'm here to rescue you."

But after years of accolades, spin-off corporations and merchandising deals, the word is now, to put it politely, decidedly middle-aged: "Only a Sith deals in absolutes."

May the force be with you.

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© 2005, Creators Syndicate

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