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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 19, 2006 / 23 Sivan, 5766

A Romeo and Juliet for modern times

By Mitch Albom


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Juliet, the one in love with Romeo, was only 13. Keep that in mind as we try to figure out Katherine Lester, the Michigan teenager who flew halfway around the world for an Internet romance.

Lester is only 16, about to turn 17. The guy she fell for, via MySpace.com, is only 20, and uses the screen name Abdullah Psycho. If you are asking how anyone falls in love with a man named "Psycho," you don't know teenagers.

And that, in the end, is what this case is all about: being a teenager. Like it or not, 16-year-old girls have a long tradition of knowing they have found the love of their lives — no matter what their uncool parents think of him.

In this case, Lester reportedly tricked her mother into supplying a passport, then took off for the Middle East, where she planned to rendezvous with her beloved MySpace hunk. According to the young man's mother, who gave an interview to the Associated Press, the two planned to wed and Lester intended to convert to Islam. The story got international attention, after Lester was intercepted in Amman, Jordan, by U.S. authorities, who sent her home.

"You talk to her teachers, you talk to her principal, you talk to her friends, and there was just no indication anything like this would happen," Renee Wood, lawyer for the Lester family, told me last week. "But we know, being 16-year-olds ourselves at one time, what infatuation can do to a kid."

Exactly. Only when we were 16, we rode our bicycles to our infatuation's house and threw pebbles at the window. We didn't wander into cyberspace and start conversations with people halfway around the world — people who couldn't see our acne or smell our breath, but could propose marriage from the comfort of their bedroom.

Wherever it might be.

When this story first broke, reactions were fear, then relief, then anger. Where were the parents? Where were the authorities?

These are fair questions. Sixteen-year-olds need to show how they are leaving the country on their own. In this age of heightened security, how young Katherine got all the way to Jordan solo is a disturbing mystery.

As for the parents? Well, the father was quoted as saying that his daughter was a great student who never gave him a lick of trouble. And the mother told the media her daughter was "a wonderful girl," in the National Honor Society.

Those are declarations, not explanations.

And, by the way, the father and mother are not together.

That doesn't mean anything, except that Katherine's parents obviously could not monitor together what their perfect daughter was doing night after night on the Internet. Let's face it. The girl didn't fall in love in one chat. This "relationship" went on, according to reports, for seven months. If something that long completely escapes your attention, maybe you don't know your child the way you think you do.

Or maybe she needs some sort of attention that she isn't getting.

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Having said that, let's return to our premise. Teenage girls do things like this — even in the tightest-knit families. So do teenage boys. They throw caution to the wind, they take terrible chances, they believe they know true love and are terribly misunderstood, and they gravitate to others who share these feelings.

Juliet bucks her family to love and die for Romeo. Maria bucks her family to love Tony in "West Side Story." What Katherine Lester felt and wanted to do is not new.

But the world she is doing it in is new. We don't ride bicycles now, we get on planes. We don't throw pebbles at windows, we e-mail over oceans. And when we think our perfect kids are tucked away safely in their bedrooms — if a computer is in there with them — the trouble may just be getting started.

Abdullah Jinzawi's mother told the AP that despite the incident, the two would-be lovers continued to communicate. "Neither of them are giving up on each other."

Wherefore art thou?

Maybe we should ask our kids that.

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