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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 May 29, 2007 / 13 Sivan, 5767

My perfect birthday gift: A phone call

By Mitch Albom


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It was always about presents. That's the thing I most remember. You started thinking about your birthday weeks in advance, mostly through the eyes of "What am I gonna get?"


One year it was a magic trick. One year it was an Etch A Sketch. One year a new basketball. One year a record player.


I remember less about the parties, who came, who didn't, who wished me well, who wasn't around. I was a child and I thought as a child. My eyes were on the prize. I still can feel the stomach-shivering excitement when my eyes popped open in bed that morning. I still can remember poking around in my parents' closet, in case they hid the present in there.


The sensation of unwrapping a box — that I can recall. But the year? The age? The number of candles on the cake? The faces behind the voices that sang me "Happy Birthday"? That I couldn't tell you.


That was then.


I celebrated a birthday last week. And I can blessedly say, when it comes to toys, even the adult kind, I have all I could want. They don't interest me as much as they used to, anyhow.


My birthday these days, like many people my age, is less about "What am I gonna get?" and more about "How am I gonna feel?" How's the heart rate? How's the cholesterol? How's the weight? How's the vision? How am I holding up?


And lately, "How much time do I have left?"


I have written in this space before how my birthday ritual is to eat everything I don't eat all year round — for breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-between. And I can happily report I kept my face-stuffing tradition alive.


But I noticed something else this year. Early in the morning, my phone rang. It was a family member from overseas, wishing me happy birthday. We had a nice chat. Then I checked my e-mail. My brother, who also lives overseas, had gotten a jump on the day with a 5 a.m. posting. He teased me about how old I was getting (he's the youngest). It made me smile.


As the day went on, the phone rang again and again. A sister-in-law. Another sister-in-law. Another sister-in-law. (I have a lot.) Two brothers-in-law.


I opened an e-mail from a Realtor-turned-friend and who was in Las Vegas. Happy birthday. I got an e-mail from a couple who I don't get to see enough. Happy birthday. Got voice mails on my answering machine from family, from people in the business, from a publisher in Brazil who is lovely and emotional and signs her notes "with many hugs and kisses."


She, too, wished me a happy birthday.


My parents called during the day, and we spoke nostalgically. I was eating in a restaurant when my cell phone rang and I heard the voice of my oldest friend in life. We have known each other since we were in strollers. He lives in North Carolina now, but, somehow, he remembered the date.


There were cards, simple and funny, from relatives who lived many miles away. There were notes from readers and people in a volunteer group I work with. A few family members who were within reach spent most of the day with me, eating and having fun. It seemed to be a steady stream of voices — voices, not gifts — just checking in, wishing me well.


I'm not sure where I'm going with this. Usually in a column you try to take something from the news and make a point that hopefully enlightens. My birthday is hardly news. And the only enlightening thing I can share is this:


As my day went on, I found myself flashing on the end of "It's A Wonderful Life," where George Bailey's friends and family come to help him in his hour of need. As they surround him, he opens a card — sent from his "angel" Clarence — and the handwritten message is clear and simple:


"No man is poor who has friends."


I would like, in this space, to thank mine. I didn't feel old this past birthday. I felt rich.

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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