In this issue
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 29, 2009 / 7 Tamuz 5769

Sure, death has a way of aggrandizing life, but we're wacko in how we view Jacko

By Mitch Albom

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Michael Jackson left this world four days ago. But he hadn't been living in it for a long time.

In fact, it's hard to think of a celebrity who had less to do with the real world than Jackson. In the real world, you don't have pet llamas or roller coasters in your backyard. In the real world, if you're $400 million in debt, people aren't still lending you money. In the real world, you don't buy human bones, wear lipstick as a man or sleep with other people's children in your bedroom.

Still, as soon as he died, Jackson — whom fans helped chase into his own private Neverland — was embraced as if he lived next door and inspired us every day. The hypocrisy of the cable news mourning is hard to stomach. Seeing Al Sharpton laud Jackson as some major civil rights activist or Christie Hefner celebrate his amazing business acumen is bad enough. (If he were so smart, how come he was so broke?)

But the whitewash of opinion being spouted by the public outdoes anything Jackson ever tried to do to his looks. Five days ago — when he was still alive — Jackson was perceived as a desperate, grotesque, off-the-radar, once-great performer turned weird, pathetic, possibly criminal and unable to sell records the way he did.

A day later, he was a world-healer, a joy-spreader, a one-of-a-kind man of magic.

I know death has a way of aggrandizing life. But some of the same people mourning the King of Pop for the TV cameras didn't do a whole lot for him while he was here.

I always felt sorry for Michael Jackson. We were born in the same year, and, like a lot of kids, I watched him grow up, sang his songs, tried some of his dance moves.

But when I went to high school, he was playing nightclubs. When I went to college, he was touring the world. While I got married and found a home, he was wearing sunglasses and masks, had a dubious relationship with a woman to produce children, then cut her out of the picture.

Soon, all he had in common with the rest of us was breathing air and eating food. He loved Jackie Wilson and Diana Ross, but his life was more like Elvis Presley's. Elvis was a white man bringing black music to a white audience. Jackson was a black man bringing black music to a white audience. Elvis died young, bloated and surrounded by drug rumors. Jackson died young, skinny and surrounded by drug rumors. Neither could go anywhere. Both holed up in secluded mansions. Both passed away unmarried.

Neither seemed very happy.

But Elvis chose show business as a man. Jackson, as a child, was pushed in front of the family singing group by a brutal, domineering father. There was no normalcy. No high school. No prom or graduation. Just records and screaming fans and, as Michael aged and altered his face, cameras and more cameras.

It's no surprise that paparazzi already were gathered outside his rented home when the ambulance came for him. Earlier in the day, the press had been outside another hospital, chewing on the details of Farrah Fawcett's passing.

Suddenly, it was as if all that media raced away from Fawcett's death to chronicle Jackson's. And that image tells you all you need to know about fame.

You know what I wonder? I wonder how Jackson got along with his brothers in the end. In another life, in another world, being part of a huge family is a wondrous thing — supportive, loving, funny, chaotic. Did Jackson — who made tons of money with his siblings — have any of that family embrace in his final days?

If not, he missed out on the very thing he was closest to much of his life. And that's a pity. I won't be a hypocrite and say sweet singing and dazzling dancing give you a free pass — especially if it involved abusing children. I will say it seemed almost predestined that he'd walk a strange path.

But let's be honest. Celebrating Jackson more in death than in life doesn't honor him. If anything, calling him Wacko Jacko, chronicling his surgically enhanced face and making him a national joke, then weeping for TV cameras about how much we'll miss him makes us seem, for the moment, even stranger than him.

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