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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 July 14, 2009/ 22 Tamuz 5769

The Bike Jump

By Tom Purcell




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Norman Rapp's dad saved my life that day.


Maybe I better explain.


An article on MSNBC.com discussed how kids raised in the 1950s, '60s and '70s are survivors. We survived chain-smoking adults, meat-and-potato diets and rough-and-tumble fearlessness of every kind.


It was the Evel Knievel era, after all. Knievel became famous doing wheelies and jumping his motorcycle over cars and buses. Every kid with a bicycle sought to emulate him.


We built ramps from warped plywood and set them on rickety blocks. We took our bikes to the top of Marilynn Drive — a hill so steep it may as well have been a cliff — and roared down it, made a left onto Janet Drive, then kept pedaling until liftoff.


It was a grand feeling to soar through the air - it was grand to experience a tremendous surge of adrenalin — though our landings weren't often pretty.


This was the early '70s, after all. We didn't wear helmets or pads. When our rear wheels hit the pavement, we wiped out plenty — we got hurt plenty, too.


The average kid then was covered with scrapes and bruises. When a landing went really wrong — when a kid went down especially hard — a mom would arrive, the moaning kid would be loaded inside a wood-paneled station wagon and off he'd go to St. Clair Hospital for stitches or a cast.


Which brings us to the day I could have died.


I was riding a five-speed Murray Spyder bike that y ear. My fifth gear allowed me superior speed and, thus, superior distance off the ramp. I held the neighborhood record for the longest jump — until some outsider broke it.


I wasted no time reclaiming my record. I rode to the tippy-top of Marilynn Drive. I started off in first and, pedaling like mad, pounded through the gears all the way through fifth.


I was moving faster than ever when I cut a hard left and continued on Janet. I pedaled faster and harder — the wind whipping through my David Cassidy hair — as I pointed my bike toward the center of the ramp.


A dozen kids stood on the left side of the road — some cheering for me, some against — while two others stood near the ramp to mark the spot where I would land.


Suddenly, as my front tire hit the ramp, everything went into slow motion. The jolt was spectacular. It caused my sweaty fingers to lose hold of the handlebars.


I remember floating through the air like a directionless missile - my arms flailing as my body sought to regain its balance.


I remember the tremendous impact that shot through my spine as the rear wheel hit the pavement — how my bike began wobbling wildly.


I was heading for a big, wooden telephone pole. I leaned left, then right, and, miraculously, avoided the splintery pole.


The worst was yet ahead. I was roaring toward a thicket of pine trees. Their trunks and branches would surely turn me into kid stew.


Then Providence intervene d. His name was Norman Rapp's dad.


Mr. Rapp, a welder, had built a giant street-hockey net. Norman stored it in the pine trees where I was headed. The net caught me like a glove. I didn't suffer a scratch.


A doctor in the MSNBC.com article says that most kids of my era survived their childhood just fine. However, some were badly hurt or worse. A helmet could have saved them. I certainly wear a helmet now when I ride.


But it's also true that whereas kids were once free to roam and explore - free to experience "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" - many of today's kids aren't free to do anything.


I regained my bike-jump record that day. I'm confident it will stand.


Even if a kid were daring enough to rig up a ramp and jump his bike now, he'd still be covered in more protective gear than a Transformer.


There's no way a kid carrying that much weight will ever fly as far as I did the day I could have died.

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