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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 Nov. 22, 2010 / 15 Kislev, 5771

Gifts

By Alan Douglas




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Most gifts are gestures, but truly wonderful gifts are filled with meaning, Gifts should be about emotions, sharing, support, and dreams. That is all you really should need to know about gift giving. But in the holiday spirit, I give you, my friends and readers, this story about gifts. This tale is also about families. As your relatives assemble for the holidays, permit me to remind each of you, that your family, and mine, is as crazy as everyone else's family.

My uncle was a terrific guy. He was always easy-going and enjoyed life with kindness and good cheer. He lived with my family and the two of us shared a bedroom until I was ten. He was my older brother, guardian angel, buddy, and second father all rolled up into one. As a small child my primary mode of transportation was my uncle carrying me around on his shoulders. When I was eight years old my uncle stayed behind when the rest of my family drove to a mountain cabin for vacation. My parents sent me to an arts and crafts class where I made a wallet for my uncle. I was extremely proud of that wallet. I wanted to give it to him right away. My parents explained to me that we were more than a thousand miles from home, so my gift would have to wait. That evening, I became sick and developed a high fever. We rushed home, and after giving my uncle his present, I made a sudden, miraculous recovery. My parents were not pleased with me, but I think my uncle liked the wallet.

Many years later I called my uncle to tell him I was getting married and asked if he would be my best man. But things had changed. My uncle had gotten married and although he was still the lovable guy with child-like enthusiasm and charm -- he had married a grow-up. She was an adult who believed in rules, order, and who found pleasure in setting people straight. My aunt was "often in error, but never in doubt" as she instructed others how to live, what to wear, and what to eat. She protected my uncle from his good nature and was vigilant in detecting flaws in others. It has been said that people who brag they are brutally honest, are more brutal than honest. When I called about the wedding, my aunt said she didn't know if they would be available to attend, but she would send a list of dates when they could make it. My uncle simply said that no matter when or where he would be there.

My aunt mailed us a list of dates when she might attend. She told me, and my fiancee that since this was my second wedding, I should consider eloping, and pointed out that we should not really expect others to attend a second wedding. I have always maintained there is more reason to attend second weddings. An undefeated team doesn't need a pep rally as much as a team coming off a loss. It was selfish and dangerous, according to my aunt, to impose on my uncle and expect him to travel at his age. "If he dies coming to your wedding it will be your fault" she stated in a factual and ominous manner. I gave up or in, I am still not sure which. I wrote back to my aunt and uncle saying they were certainly welcome at the wedding but we would understand it if they couldn't make it. My aunt told us her club was having their conference at the same time so they couldn't attend. Shortly after, my uncle called us to tell us he would go to the conference with my aunt, fly by himself to the wedding, and then immediately fly back to the conference. He said, "You know I wouldn't miss your wedding."

And then we received a wedding present from my aunt and uncle. My aunt was infamous for giving inappropriate gifts so I was wary. A young woman spending the holiday in the hospital having extensive back surgery that was painful and left her two big new scars, one on her spine and another on her hip, wept when she received her Christmas present from my aunt…a bikini. My aunt's wedding present to a mixed marriage couple was a souvenir plaque my aunt bought years ago that depicted the Western Wall. To make her point clear, my aunt gave a feminist family member a gift certificate for a beauty make over. So when our wedding gift arrived I begged my fiancee to call the bomb squad, but she accused me of overreacting. My soon-to-be-wife gave me a long lecture on not living in the past, not holding grudges, not prejudging people, and a lot of other "nots."

It turned out that our gift was an electric frying pan that I had given my aunt and uncle ten years ago during a salvage operation at a business. This was fine with me, since re-gifting is environmentally responsible, and it wasn't a bomb. "Why look, they even sent us this beautiful card," my fiancee exclaimed, ripping open the envelope and preparing for a formal reading of the greeting card. The pictures tumbled out as soon as the envelope was opened. My wife picked them off the floor and as she examined them she asked me, "Aren't these photographs of your ex-wife?" In my most cheerful countenance I chirped, "Welcome to the family."

But all in all, I figured that my uncle disobeying orders and coming to our wedding was the real gift. When my uncle arrived he told me, "Wouldn't have missed it for the world," and he meant it. It was not an elaborate ceremony with honors for my uncle, but he didn't care. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law built a beautiful chuppah in their backyard and hosted us all in their house after the ceremony. My uncle toasted my new wife and me, making it a true celebration, but time was short and he had to catch his plane. When his taxi back to the airport arrived, he started crying. He kissed my bride good-bye and grabbed me. Hugging me tightly he paused and said, "I've saved this for over thirty years, but I want you to have it." "Do you know what it is?" he asked, as he handed the small object to me. "Of course," I cried out as I held him in my arms and clutched the old wallet. Most gifts are gestures, but truly wonderful gifts are filled with meaning,

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.

Comment by clicking here.

JWR contributor Alan Douglas, an author, media executive, speaker, and attorney, lives con brio- except when he is grumpy.


Previously:

Sharing, Transparency and Dumping
Red Alert
Readers Respond Regarding Rabbi
Readers: I Need Your Help with my Rabbi
Humphrey Bogart and P. T. Barnum on Fighting with Family and Friends
Columbus, Honors and Hound Dogs
The Free Lunch
When your child suffers
Conversational Transmitted Diseases
Conservative, Liberal or American
Paris, Antarctica and Shopping
Personal Protection
Dispute Resolution
Jumped or Pushed?
Friends and Acquaintances
Revenge and Vindication

© 2010 Alan Douglas

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