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 Oct. 21, 2009 / 3 Mar-Cheshvan 5770

Allure of fame skews reality

By Marybeth Hicks

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In August 2005, I was asked to consider auditioning for the reality show "Wife Swap," the premise being that I would visit the home of an uber-cool family that was unaccustomed to my authoritative parenting style, and a permissive and culturally savvy mom would stay in my home with my husband and our four children (presumably to be appalled by the sight of children who read newspapers).

The honorarium for this appearance was to be $20,000. My children thought this was a big pile of money, but that's before any of them enrolled in college. They know better now.

I considered "Wife Swap" for all of about four seconds before responding, "Thanks, but no thanks" to the producer who contacted me. That was all the time it took for me to envision my husband in the vestibule at church explaining to our pastor who the strange woman was next to him, and how the words "Wife Swap" could describe a TV show that was both wholesome and appropriate for audiences of all ages.

When my children asked how I could refuse such easy money, my answer was simple: "There's not enough money in the world to compensate me for the loss of privacy and dignity of a TV reality show, not to mention the exploitation of my family."

"But you could be famous," one of them pointed out.

"I may as well sell my soul."

They must have heard this as a firm "no," because they never asked about it again.

Sadly, Richard and Mayumi Heene weren't so reluctant to join the ranks of the exploited, nor to employ their children in their get-rich-and-famous-quick schemes.

Veterans of "Wife Swap," the Heenes desired a reality series of their own. It appears that in an effort to secure such an opportunity, the couple perpetrated a huge hoax on America through a willing news media.

On the chance you are among those productive citizens who work all day rather than watch TV news, you may have missed the story. The Heenes built an experimental "flying saucer" - really a makeshift hot-air balloon - that "accidentally" flew away, "possibly" with their 6-year-old son, Falcon, on board. A 911 call initiated a search for the craft, which, when found, was empty of young Falcon. An even more serious situation seemed to have emerged with the possibility that the child had fallen out of the craft.

After hours of emotional TV coverage, the boy was "found" at home. During the obligatory live CNN interview, he alone spoke the truth about the day's events when he asked his father, "I thought we did it for the TV show?"

Now the parents will be charged with a host of crimes, from conspiracy to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, though sadly, there is no law on the books against seeking fame without genuine talent. Heaven knows the jails would overflow if such a statute existed.

If the Heenes weren't such comic figures (an experimental flying saucer?), their stunt could serve an instructive purpose, for certainly their fame obsession is an example of the vapid state of American ambition.

Celebrity now defines success in our culture. One needn't make any real contribution to society. Just land on TV - preferably on a show where you get your own theme song - and in the time it takes to say, "I'm Jon Gosselin's agent," you, too, can be among the rich and famous.

Or infamous.


We ought to be worried about such shallow values because studies now prove American middle-schoolers would rather be famous than intelligent.

That's reality, folks, and it's not made for TV.

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of more than 20 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


© 2009, Marybeth Hicks