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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 10, 2006 / 16 Menachem-Av 5766

Fidel Castro Meets the Angel of History

By James Lileks


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Scene: A secret Havana military hospital. A frail, old man snaps awake and stares. There's a stranger seated next to the bed, a long, unlit cigar in one hand. The stranger leans back and smiles.


"Don't be alarmed," he says. "It's just me, the Angel of History. I like to have a chat with men of your stature at times like this. Good run, old chap; dying in bed. Well played! A little advice? Pretend to die just as you're telling them the secret Swiss bank account numbers. Drives them mad, and it's most amusing to watch. Mind if I smoke?"


The old man's eyes are wide and frantic; the uninvited guest leans forward.


"What's that? Right, right, your funeral. You want to know. Oh, next week, next month, hard to say. There's the usual jostling for power right now. Odd, really: In this democratic, egalitarian nation, the only man you saw fit to follow happened to be your brother. What are the chances of that, eh? Most people in America don't know a thing about him. `Another Castro?' the Americans think. `They had a spare?'


"When it all shakes out, and enough people have been put against a wall, you'll get a funeral. Second-tier diplomats will attend, mostly Europeans who will privately complain that you didn't have the dignity to die in a cooler season. Hugo Chavez will steal the show, of course. He's rather like you, without the iconic facial hair and rhetoric that were stale when Woody Allen was funny. Chavez has money, too. Good suits. I have my eye on that one.


"But we were talking about your funeral, weren't we? The general consensus will be simple: At least it wasn't as long as one of your speeches.


"After that? Well. You know how it goes. Your fans in the West will forget you quickly enough. At home, you'll always have admirers. Memories are short, and the human heart is fickle. Mao slaughtered millions, and his picture still sits on cab drivers' dashboards; get some old Russians in the right mood — which is to say, drunk — and you'll hear how Stalin was a great man who did what needed to be done, as though millions of people were begging to be starved or uprooted. Let democracy fail to bring paradise back in a year, and the talk will begin. Under Fidel, we were united!


"They will forget they were united in hatred of Fidel, of course. They will feel nostalgia for posters they saw when they were young. They will remember a song that reminds them of simpler times, and conclude the times were better.


"The old — whom you left with no pensions, no savings — will mutter when they cannot afford to shop in the new stores, and they will be joined by the young, who look south to Chavez and see the American hamburger as an instrument of oppression. The malcontent, the street brute, the intellectuals who mistake their neuroses for insights — they'll remember you, and speak in your name. But they will be few. There was no such thing as Castroism, after all. Only Castro. In the end it all dies with you.


"Eventually it will come down to this, my friend: History will note that the people in the American jails at the tip of this island ate better than the average Cuban."


He holds up the cigar.


"One more puff? I know, I know, you gave them up. But don't tell me you haven't dreamed of them. That's the story of your country and your countrymen; home or abroad, they dream of Cuba. The past or the future. But never the present. Until this day, that is."


He leans over and puts the cigar in the trembling lips. Flames leap from his fingertips. "It may be stale," he says as the old man inhales. "But it's rare. I got this one years ago, from the CIA. Brace yourself; the flavor's quite ... explosive."

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 James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2006, James Lileks

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