In this issue
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 Sept. 1, 2006 / 8 Elul, 5766

Why I wish I were French

By Tom Purcell

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's Labor Day weekend, and that got me to thinking: I wish I were French.

The French are a wonderful people. Their food is excellent. Their cities are filled with remarkable architecture and an abundance of culture. And, boy, do they have the free time to enjoy it all.

Back in 2000, French politicians, trying to bring the high unemployment rate down, decided to try something bold. Did they cut taxes to spur the economy the way Americans would? Nope. Did they reduce regulations that make it virtually impossible for employers to fire bad workers? Of course not.

They wrote a new law that requires everybody to work less — no more than 35 hours a week, and certainly no overtime. The strategy didn't work of course — it has since unraveled and the government is still working it out — but one thing is clear: The French sure know how to enjoy the good life.

According to CBS News, the French government also mandates that employees receive at least five weeks of paid vacation. On top of that employees enjoy 22 paid holidays. During July and August, as a result, much of the country shuts down.

People kick back and relax. They travel to exotic places. They enjoy lots of stress-free days without a care in the world — while we Americans are chained to our desks.

There are no laws in America that make vacation time mandatory. The average American enjoys only a few weeks of paid vacation. And when we go away for a break — IF we go away — too many of us keep on working anyway. We check e-mail, participate in phone meetings, and keep on top of projects.

That's why I'd like to be French just for a little while.

Sure, I know that the socialist ways of the grand old country are completely unsustainable. Their unemployment rate stands at just under 10 percent. And every time the government tries to take a holiday away or make it easier for an employer to fire a bad employee, a million people riot in the streets.

I know that in a global economy, as trade barriers come down and competition with emerging nations grows fierce, that only the strong will survive. Life and the world have always been competitive. Pretending that competition doesn't exist is no longer an option.

I know, too, that the American economy is booming because our government interferes with employers less and because Americans are willing to work so hard. There are lots of opportunities for any American who is willing to go after them.

In my own case, I've been able to contract my skills to large, profitable companies for a decent rate. I can work long hours when I want to bring in cash or, as I've been doing for a while now, I can cut back to part time, so I can devote more time to personal goals, such as completing a book. I'm as successful as I want to be and if I fail I have nobody to blame but myself.

That's why, just for a while, I wish I were French.

I'd spend July and August basking in the waters of some exotic location, maybe the French Riviera. I'd while away the evenings sipping good wine and swapping stories of vacations past. I'd immerse myself fully in the moment, not giving a care about the next week or month or even the next 20 years.

I'd finally be able to relax fully knowing that if anybody tried to take my vacation away — if anyone attempted to tinker with any of my government-mandated benefits — that a million people would pour into the streets in my defense.

Alas, such are the wistful thoughts that kick around the noggin of a self-employed American now that Labor Day weekend is upon us.

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© 2006, Tom Purcell