Reality Check

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 June 23, 2003

Live a sanitized life?

By Yitzchak Relkin

Censorship Bad! Free speech GOOD!
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Email this article | Diane Ravitch is certainly no feeble minded, cantankerous, doddering, spinsteresque old biddy from the rocking chair brigade.

And that's a good thing; because if she were, I would never be able to say so in print --- or anywhere else, for that matter.

A historian of education and professor of education at NYU, Ravitch's "The Language Police," began as an essay for "Daedalus" (the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences) in the summer of 2002. It was quickly optioned by Alfred A. Knopf and expanded into a full blown expose of the political forces at work that are attempting to control what words can be used, how people can be described, and to make sure that, it seems, NO ONE will ever be offended by ANYTHING.

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The professor, a former assistant secretary for educational research and improvement and a counselor to the U.S. Department of Education, seems to have stumbled onto some powerful forces at work concerning censorship and revisionist history of current and past school children's textbooks.

Ravitch traces the effort to sanitize books to the civil rights and women's movements of the late 60s and early 70s.

Initially, the move was a sincere attempt to correct some of the obvious wrongs of previous eras --- open and derisive use of words like "nigger" and "colored" and thinking of women only in mothering or nurturing roles. What Ravitch documents, however, is that the new Language Police are not liberators. Hardly. They've actually developed into the staunchest enemies of free speech and ideas.

And although at first blush, one might believe that textbook revisionism is purely a leftist phenomenon, Ravitch, in non-partisan fashion, also documents the Right has also engaged in "protecting" young, malleable minds.

Their targets? Not only textbooks, but also stories and tests. They've demanded that references to paganism, moral relativism, secular humanism, disobedient children, divorce, evolution, even fossils(!), be expurgated for fear of their malevolent effects on impressionable youth.

As a child, I stumbled across a story in Scholastic Magazine that by today's "sanitized" standards would likely have never been published, as it would be deemed morally harmful and ideologically injurious to our youth. For many, ahem, "good reasons," no doubt.

"The Lottery," by Shirley Jackson has been called "the most controversial piece of fiction ever published in the New Yorker." While told in a straightforward style, there's a disturbing tone about it. But it is not until the horrifying end, that the reader realizes why. (I won't give away too much of the plot. For those who have yet to read it, I strongly suggest you do so.)

Now that I have read "The Language Police," I suppose I could rant about why this story must have permanently desensitized and dissuaded me from ever reading another book or why I'm, no doubt, sexist, ageist or insensitive to any number of other groups.

But contrary to the beliefs of the Language Police that Ms. Ravitch exposes, not only did "The Lottery" not distract or permanently damage me -- well, at least that I know of -- it actually jarred me to ponder the ways of the world and ignited a life-long attitude of never accepting things must be the way they are simply because that's the way they are. The tale, in fact, was the impetus that ignited my love of reading and infatuation with ideas.

P.T. Barnum reportedly said, "You can't please all the people all the time." One wonders why publishers -- and the academics who goad them -- keep trying.

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Yitzchak Relkin is a Brooklyn based web designer who is sometimes known to help out He is currently doing mostly freelance work and in need of fulltime employment. Anyone knowing of any full time work in the New York City area, please contact JWR's Editor-in-Chief.

© 2003