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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 August 8, 2005 / 3 Av, 5765

New-look Russia inspires a double take

By Mitch Albom


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I sat on a concrete wall by the riverbank, drinking a Diet Coke I had purchased from a nearby vendor. Behind me was a boat launch for tourists. Disco music played over the loudspeakers. Women in halter tops and tight white pants paraded by me, holding hands with boyfriends whose matted haircuts looked like the rock singer Beck.

It was a hot afternoon, in a busy city with zooming traffic, and if someone had taken a snapshot, you might have thought I was sipping my soda in Chicago or Miami.

Not Russia.

But it was Russia, St. Petersburg, to be exact. This was a few weeks ago, although time is a funny thing in what used to be called the Soviet Union. For example, here I was, across the street from the Hermitage Museum, which once was the winter palace of Catherine the Great, whose love of art in the 1700s led to one of the largest collections in the world — a collection that now is so overwhelming it is being shared with a new museum in Amsterdam, which, in case you haven't noticed, isn't in Russia.

Such is life in this strangely transitional country. Communism has collapsed. Some sort of grab-bag society has emerged. You see statues of former czars, and a few blocks away, you see pirated DVDs of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." I'm not kidding. I saw one in a record shop. It cost 120 rubles, or about $4. Had Johnny Depp's picture on the cover.

Once, American movies were forbidden.

Now they're selling bootlegs.

And that's hardly the biggest change. The last time I was in Russia, during the '80s, people were afraid to talk. Their eyes shot left and right. Everything — and everyone — was suspicious. Once, on a bus ride, a translator nodded to a man reading a newspaper, then whispered in my ear, "KGB."

In those days, they went through your bags at the airport. Any Western literature might be confiscated. Same for Western music.

Now, here I was, passing bookshops that sold the Russian-language versions of John Grisham books, and browsing through a record shop that sold the Black Eyed Peas.

On my last Russian trip, if you ate out, you ate in an officially sanctioned place, which might — might — have had a sign out front with the word "Restaurant" in block letters.

This time we ate in a vegetarian spot called The Idiot, which celebrated Dostoyevsky.

The menus were in English.

Do you remember when going to Russia would have been like going to the moon? Do you remember, not so long ago, when we thought all Russians wanted us dead?

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I find myself thinking about that more and more these days. I think about how Israel, in a few weeks, is planning to pull out of the Gaza Strip, perhaps beginning the blueprint of a new country on its borders. I think about how Iraq, under a dictator's thumb a few years ago, is now writing its own constitution.

I think about how quickly the world changes. And how angry and vigilant we get about "us" and "them," yet how relatively quickly "us" and "them" can transform, how quickly enemies once as foreign as space creatures — remember "Commies" or "pinkos" or "Russkies"? — can be watching Adam Sandler in "The Longest Yard" in a theater on Nevsky Street.

I think about sitting on that riverbank in St. Petersburg, which used to be called Leningrad, after the father of the Russian Revolution. His name is gone now. So are a lot of other things. The truth is, the world is an ever-changing place, and whatever hateful beliefs we might have about this country or that, you never know when you might find yourself sipping a diet soda across from one of their palaces.

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