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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 Dec. 18, 2006 / 27 Kislev, 5767

Tearing open the wrapping paper, looking for happiness . . .

By Mitch Albom


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's not the little slot cars I miss. Oh, I loved them. I really loved them. They were hot red and hot yellow and you pressed a little controller and you raced them around a track — until, having pressed the controller too hard, you caused them to go flying out of a curve and onto the floor.


But it's not the cars themselves I miss. It's the feeling they caused. The feeling of anticipation. I was 8 or 9 years old, and a slot-car set was my holiday present that year. Somehow I knew it. Maybe I peeked. Maybe my parents told me. Who can remember? All I knew was a brand new slot-car set was going to be mine on a certain day at a certain time and I could barely control my excitement. I dreamed about those slot cars. I woke up thinking about them. When the box finally was put in front of me, I must have broken the world record for destroying wrapping paper.


And, of course, I wanted to stay up all night putting the thing together. When my weary father promised to help me in the morning, I had a hard time sleeping. I rose before the sun, without an alarm clock — who needed an alarm clock when a new toy was waiting? — and raced down to the basement.


I still can feel my hands on the pieces of that track, or the new Aurora car in the grip of my little palm.


That holiday gift filled my morning so completely, I barely bothered to breathe. I must have played it all day. Nonstop. And if you had asked me in the middle of all that, was I perfectly happy, I would have screamed, "YES!"


I haven't felt that way in a long time.


I'm not sure when presents stopped having that effect on me. I guess I have become one of those adults who rolls his eyes at the wolf pack in a toy store, clawing to buy a Tickle Me Elmo doll or an Xbox 360. I decry the commercialization. I lament that we rank the spirit of the season behind the spirit of the sale.

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But recently I was in a shopping mall and I saw a small child go running — and I mean running — to a toy store. I saw him pick up a big box and hold it like a tray in front of him. I didn't know him. But I saw in his eyes that familiar dazzled look that said, as he held up that box, "Could this really, truly, one day be mine?"


And, I admit, I miss that excitement. I am trying to remember the last time I felt it. I know I was enthralled with my first Etch-a-Sketch. I know I loved the game Operation. I know I got goose bumps when I opened my Whammo Air Blaster gun. (If you're a teenager reading this, it was the 1960s . . . don't ask.)


Did it start to fade with my first "big boy" bicycle? Probably. Had it withered by the time I got a couple of red turtlenecks? Likely. Was it gone for good by the time socks and a watch were the highlight of the holiday booty? Certainly.


You grow up. You grow out of things. Losing sleep over a present doesn't make much sense anymore.


I know it's just age. I know as you get older you realize things don't change your life, people do, experiences do.


But for whatever reason — the shadow of a war, a weakened local economy, the cold, gray, winter weather — I found myself looking at that boy in the mall and trying to recreate his delirious excitement, that hand-shaking, voice-squealing thrill that left you sure that tomorrow was going to be a great day, because you were going to wake up without an alarm clock and play until the sun had set.


Once upon a time, a little slot car and a palm-sized controller made me feel like happiness was the easiest thing in the world to find — you only had to open a box. Ah. If it were truly that simple.

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