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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 July 30, 2007 / 15 Menachem-Av, 5767

The name game

By Tom Purcell


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What's in a name? Way too much where babies are concerned.

According to The Wall Street Journal, parents are obsessing over what to name their kids. They're hiring consultants, applying mathematical formulas and software programs and even bringing in nutty spiritualist types.

One couple hired a pair of consultants to draw up a list of suggestions based on "phonetic elements, popularity and ethnic and linguistic origins."

One woman paid a "nameologist" $350 for three half-hour phone calls and a personalized manual describing each name's history and personality traits.

Another spent $475 on a numerologist to see if her favorite name had positive associations, whatever the heck that means.

Obsessions

Why the obsession over children's names? One baby-naming expert says that we live in a market-oriented society. That by giving your kid the right name — the right branding, if you will — he or she will have a head start in life.

Oh, brother.

Look, I know these parents mean well. I know they're trying to do what is best for their kids. I know they think a special name will help the rest of the world know how special their kid is.

But they're doing more harm than good.

Take one couple. Mom and dad went to great lengths to come up with this name: Beckett. The name sounds reliable and stable, says the proud dad. The "C-K" sound is very well regarded in corporate circles, he says. The hard stop forces one to accentuate the syllable, which draws attention to it, he continues.

But he overlooked a very important consideration: Beckett is going to be getting wedgies well into his 40s.

I'm no expert on child rearing, but it seems to me if you want to give your kid a leg up in life, it's better to give him a simple, traditional name, not one that stands out.

I'm 45, at the tail end of the baby boom, and here are the names of my high school friends: Tom, John, Jeff, Bill, Bob, Rich and Tim. We had one Clint and he has a brother named Reid, but that was as daring as things got in those days. Any of these are good names for boys.

As for girls, why not use my sisters' names: Kathy, Krissy, Lisa, Mary and Jennifer. How about Lauren, Linda, Elizabeth or Sandy? Or, if you want to get bold, go back a few generations to the early 1900s: Gertrude, Helen, Ruth, Margaret and Beatrice (my grandmother).

The reason is simple. If you really want your kid to be special, a name is not going to do it. Your kid is going to have to earn it. She is going to have to work hard and sacrifice. She'll have to try and fail and eventually find her place — find whatever she's good at — and then work harder to develop her talents.

Keep it humble

It will be easier to do that if she is humble. And it will be easier for her to be humble if she doesn't have some goofy name that makes her think she's precious and special and G-d's gift to the universe (such as Nevaeh, which is heaven spelled backward).

It's nobody's fault that we're screwing up kids' names — we're screwing up a lot of things. We're doing it because we're able to. We're able to because the American experiment has produced untold wealth — we're free to shift our focus from trying to subsist, as our parents did, to fretting over what to name our kids.

We have to knock it off, though.

I was lucky my parents named me Tom. That is my dad's name, too. I knew early on I had to live up to it. With such a name, I never took myself too seriously — I knew I wasn't the center of anybody's universe. I turned out half decent as a result. And I never did get a wedgie.

I doubt things would have turned out that well if my name was Zayden or Michelle or Gilad.

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