In this issue

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 August 9, 2006 / 15 Menachem-Av, 5766

We're Gonna Party Like it's $19.99

By Malcolm Fleschner

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When throwing a party for young children, parents enjoy a wide variety of themes to choose from. Traditionalists will opt for old standards like pirates, fairy princesses or dinosaurs. The kids themselves, however, as well-trained consumers of children's entertainment, tend to prefer such wholesome commercial themes as The Little Mermaid, Spongebob Squarepants and Mortal Kombat VII: Blood Reckoning.

Truthfully, for many parents these days, the party's theme is not the primary consideration. More important is using the party to convey a clear underlying message, which is, "Look How Much Money We Have." For these parents, merely hiring a magician is hardly sufficient. No, their little angel's party must also feature - at a minimum - bouncy houses, pony rides, professional jugglers, fire-eaters, a team of shiatsu massage therapists, the USC marching band and a live feed of the astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle singing "Happy Birthday" to the guest of honor. Often today the only way to tell the difference between a young child's birthday party and the Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies is that most guests at a children's party are not required to furnish a urine sample.

Another popular kid party trend these days is hiring a mobile petting zoo to set up a caged-in area where ducks, rabbits, goats and chickens can poop all over your lawn. From what I can tell, the way it works is, before opening the gate to the pen, the attendant solemnly instructs the kids that the animals need to be treated gently and don't appreciate being chased, grabbed or picked up. Then he opens the gate and cuts out for a cigarette, at which point the kids all scramble in to chase, grab and pick up the hapless animals. And since the poor creatures probably go through this routine twice a day every weekend, the ironic result is a corral full of baby ducks and rabbits conditioned to peck and bite any child in range.

But when you're talking about parents going overboard for children's parties, you can't avoid mentioning Long Island tycoon David H. Brooks, who recently spent $10 million to hire, among others, Stephen Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, rapper 50 Cent and saxophonist Kenny G. to perform at his daughter's Bat Mitzvah. Now I know what you hip teenagers reading this are thinking: "That's outrageous! Why waste money on Aerosmith or 50 Cent when the kids are only going to want to see smooth jazz legend Kenny G.?"

I admit to scratching my head over the notion of a kid's party with a higher price tag than, say, the cost of rebuilding New Orleans. I was raised in an era (the Pleistocene) when a child's birthday party consisted of a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey (and, unless he was quick, pin-the-tail-on-the-dog) followed by cake and presents. The closest thing we had to a fire-eater was when my friend Billy Mezzetti burned his eyebrows trying to swipe a taste of birthday cake while I was blowing out the candles.

But turning a fire extinguisher on a friend's face wasn't our only entertainment. At my mom's parties the highlight was always when my friends and I tried to guess how many jelly beans were contained in a half-gallon mason jar. Whoever came closest got to take the jar home. Or, more precisely, got to try to spirit the jar out of the house while a dozen eight-year-old boys riding a serious frosting buzz assaulted him like a horde of refugees tearing into a UN food delivery truck.

Now that our daughter is turning four, my wife and I are courageously bucking the trend toward lavish, costly birthday parties. Not only do we strongly believe that such events are tacky and send the wrong message to children, but we also feel that kids should know how to amuse themselves and not need to be entertained constantly. Plus we don't have the money.

And so, while my wife spent the past week cleaning, preparing food, making decorations and coming up with ideas for games and activities, I've taken charge of the kids' craft project. I haven't told my wife yet, but the children won't be doing the usual fingerpainting, spin art, or paper crown decorating projects. Instead, thanks to my exciting "Kids Around The Globe," theme, our young partygoers will experience a taste of what life is like for disadvantaged children abroad by spending 11 hours in the basement hand-stitching inseams into Nike cross-trainers. Hey, since when is teaching kids a valuable lesson a bad thing? And if it helps defray some of the costs of throwing the party, so much the better, I say.

Besides, I'm not a complete ogre. Unlike some parents, I would never force the kids who come to our party listen to Kenny G.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Malcolm Fleschner is a humor columnist for The DC Examiner. Let him know what you think by clicking here.


07/19/06: Just Singing in the Brain
05/24/06: Who says you can't go home again?
05/11/06: When nightly news stories go off script
04/26/06: Cents and sensibility: A thought for your pennies
03/16/06: The day the Muzak died
02/23/06: Checkbook diplomacy begins at home
02/15/06: Today's toys: Where learning means earning

© 2006, Malcolm Fleschner