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. 2, 2009 14 Tishrei 5770

Brilliance Often Doesn't Always Equal Virtue

By Roger Simon

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We are blinded by the light. We are dazzled by the brilliant. We wish to believe they are good even when we know they are not.

The relationship between talent and virtue does not seem to be a strong one. In fact, there doesn't seem to be a relationship at all.

Take three examples: Jack Henry Abbott, Roman Polanski and Michael Jackson.

Not many people remember Abbott today, but once he was famous. Once he was all the rage. At age 37, Abbott had spent all but nine months of his previous 25 years in prison. Sent to prison for forgery and bank robbery, he stabbed and killed a fellow inmate.

But he began writing to Norman Mailer, and Mailer grew fascinated by him. Mailer was impressed with the quality of Abbott's letters, apparently believing that nobody who could write that well could actually be a violent and dangerous man.

Mailer took up Abbott's cause and used his influence to get Abbott's letters published. They eventually became the book "In the Belly of the Beast," Abbott's view of prison life, published in 1981. Other glitterati, like Jerzy Kosinski and Susan Sarandon, championed him. Abbott was on "60 Minutes" and in Rolling Stone.

Mailer pushed for Abbott's release. Abbott was paroled and entered the New York social whirl just as his book was becoming a national best-seller. Five weeks after he got out of prison, Abbott went into a restaurant, picked a fight with a waiter and in less than two minutes plunged a knife into a waiter's throat. The waiter, age 22 and a newlywed, died almost instantly.

Abbott was tried, convicted and received a sentence of 15 years to life. In 1992, Mailer said in an interview that his involvement with Abbott was "another episode in my life in which I can find nothing to cheer about or nothing to take pride in." In 2002, Abbott, all but forgotten, hanged himself in his prison cell.

Polanski, a creepy man of immense talent, did unspeakable things to a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles in 1977, when he was 44 years old. Polanski pleaded guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and then jumped bail and fled to Europe, where he has lived comfortably ever since. A few days ago, however, Polanski was arrested in Switzerland on a U.S. warrant.

The United States is now seeking Polanski's extradition to Los Angeles for sentencing in the 1977 case. Some glitterati are outraged. Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and David Lynch have signed a petition.

Whoopi Goldberg said recently on "The View" of Polanski's actions: "I know it wasn't rape-rape. I think it was something else, but I don't believe it was rape-rape." Peter Fonda said, "We should have been celebrating the arrest of Osama bin Laden and not the arrest of Polanski." One news service said "the world's cultural elite" were rushing to Polanski's defense.

Jackson was never convicted of any crimes, but in 1994 he settled a case of alleged sexual abuse with a 13-year-old boy for a reported $20 million. In 2003, Jackson was arrested and charged with seven counts of child molestation involving another 13-year-old boy. He was found not guilty following a jury trial.

When Jackson died suddenly in June, the media indulged in an orgy of Jackson coverage. His talent, his genius and his extraordinary achievements were talked about day after day after day. It was rare to hear even a mention of the troubling aspects of Jackson's life, even though doing so could have been a teachable moment for young people. It could have been a way to teach them to avoid being blinded by fame (even though their parents often were).

President Barack Obama was very careful in what he said after Jackson's death. "Michael Jackson will go down in history as one of the greatest entertainers," he said in an interview. "You know, I think his brilliance as a performer also was paired with a tragic and, in many ways, sad personal life."

Brilliant people can be tragic and sad. Brilliant people can do bad things.

Maybe Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec said it best: "One should never meet a man whose work one admires. The man is always so much less than the work."

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© 2009, Creators Syndicate