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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 August 18, 2011 / 18 Menachem-Av, 5771

Celebrations full of love and buttercream

By Sharon Randall




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Celebrations tend to be more for the celebrators than for the one who's being celebrated.

My mother always said she did not want anybody making a fuss over her birthday. Which was good, because nobody ever did.

But on the last birthday of her rocky 70 years, as she lay bedridden and weary from battling lung cancer, she finally relented and gave us permission to throw her a "little" party.

As parties go, it wasn't much different from any of the other big family meals we had gorged on over the years.

Sunday dinner was a tradition in our family as far back as I can remember. It started in my grandmother's kitchen with my mother, her eight sisters, their current husbands and countless children, all elbowing in, talking at once, laughing and arguing and eating our fill.

After my grandparents were gone, gatherings grew fewer, but they continued on occasion at my mother's house -- come one, come all, potluck style, G0d help you if you showed up empty-handed.

What made this meal different from all the rest -- aside from the pallor of my mother's face and a shadow that played at the edges of every smile -- was the buttercream comfort of a birthday cake with three candles, one each for past, present and future.

When I told her what the candles stood for, my mother laughed and rolled her eyes. She always loved a good joke.

We sang "Happy Birthday," then she gave a little speech.

"I hope you all live to be as old as I am," she said, "and I hope you never get cancer."

Then she wrinkled up her nose at my cousin. "Sandra, honey," she said, pausing for effect, "what the hell did you put in that potato salad?"

Clearly, my mother knew how to work a crowd.

That was 16 years ago. I thought of her recently in one of those odd moments that flare up in my memory like the glow of her cigarette in the dark.

I was standing on the lawn at the home of my youngest and his wife in a big, beaming circle of family and friends, singing "Happy Birthday" to my first grandchild. Named for his late grandfather, Randy was born one year ago on what would have been, had she lived, my mother's 85th birthday.

I wish you could've seen him.

Wearing shorts and a Golden State Warriors jersey (with "Randall #1" on the back), he stood alone (a new trick he recently mastered) barefoot and ankle-deep in the grass, copper curls glinting, eyes shining, looking around the circle, taking it all in. When we finished singing, we clapped and cheered and he clapped a little, too.

Then his mom handed him his first-ever cupcake and I thought, "Help me, he's going to gag."

The boy gags at everything, unless it's something he is not supposed to eat. But he did not gag at that cupcake.

He ate all the frosting, except for the part that ended up on his nose and cheeks and chin and hair. Then he dug into the cupcake with both hands and ate most of that, too.

Finally, when he finished, he looked up at all the people who love him -- some present in the flesh, others only in spirit -- and gave us a buttercream grin.

Clearly, he knows how to work a crowd.

Celebrations don't really require a cause -- a birthday, anniversary or other milestone. Any excuse for a party will do. All you need is someone to love.

Will my grandson remember his first birthday? Does my mother remember her last?

I don't know. But some of us will never forget them. And that is something to celebrate.

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Previously:


It takes a whole village of shoes to raise a child

The best stories always tell us who we are

Stop, look back . . . and listen

The great outdoors, if one's lucky, a rock-solid companion

An iChat with my grandson

Lightening bugs and other things make us glow

Each and every Fourth of July a cause for celebration



© 2011, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE

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