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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 Dec. 21, 2006 / 30 Kislev 5767

This Jew's favorite Christmas movie

By Rosally Saltsman


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One Christmas movie stands out as a classic of all time and its message is in many ways Jewish.


It's a Wonderful Life, the brainchild of Frank Capra, the granddaddy of feel good movies, is a holiday tradition in and of itself.


For those who have yet to see it, the premise is very simple; a man dreams of doing great things and changing the world and ends up spending his life in the same small town, working in the same small office, struggling with what he deems an unremarkable life haunted by his unrealized aspirations.


The movie's arch villain, Mr. Potter (no relation to Harry) surreptitiously pilfers his funds and so in a moment of despair and hopelessness he is about to put an end to his life. And then, the miracle happens, an angel appears and shows him what the world would have been like had he never been born. Well, it's a mess. Many are miserable, dozens are dead and everyone's worse off. Having witnessed how much he means to the town, and what a truly wonderful life he has had, he asks for a second chance and gets it. He goes home, to yet another miracle, all the town's people contributing money to get him out of trouble because after all, they owe everything to him. Excuse me while I get a tissue. I've seen this movie at least 25 times and I can't watch it without crying, no, sobbing.


The message, in case we've missed it, is transmitted by the angel who says, "Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"


No one can see this movie without wishing that they too had such an impact on the people around them but the happy ending is they do. None of us can see the ramifications of our actions. Like the proverbial stone skipped in a lake, each action we do, each word we say, creates ripples upon and deep beneath the surface of the lives of the people we touch extending far beyond what we can see or imagine.


When all is said and done, it's possible that we may have accomplished more than we ever dreamed possible by doing the best we could in the circumstances we were given. The heroes of the world are not necessarily the rich and famous, the accomplished and "successful".

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The heroes of the world are the average people who live their often humdrum lives doing the best they can each with his shining moments. Actually, ironically, if George Bailey, the movie's hero would have gone on to do all that he had dreamed, the town's residents would have been worse off and he wouldn't have accomplished nearly as much.


The wonderful truth about the movie's message is that yes, many of us don't realize our most heartfelt hopes and dreams and life does throw us many curveballs but often it is exactly because of that that we realize our greatest potential and do the most good. Each one of us does a plethora of things that make the world better in a way that only he or she can.


While most of us don't have a guardian angel who comes down to earth when we're in crisis to show us that we really do have a wonderful life, we do have hints here and there. But the appreciation and recognition we get a glimpse of is only a tip of the iceberg. Knowing that is the key to appreciating all we are and all we have done.


I have always wanted to be George Bailey.


Well, I got my wish in part. I struggle with debt and I rarely get to work at what I want, I have a faucet that always comes off in my hand and I have always wanted to visit the Amazon jungle though I doubt I'll get there. But perhaps, I've touched the world in ways I'm not aware of. Perhaps we all have.


When things are hopeless, when we think we can't go on and what does it all mean anyway, we need to remember that G-d runs the world in a way that puts us where we need to be and gives us the situations we need in which to reach our greatest potential and do the most good. And if we only had the same perspective as He does, we'd see that things are working in the best way possible for everyone concerned. We just have to have faith and do the best we can because that's all we can ever dream of doing.


Have a bright and happy Chanukah — and a wonderful life!

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JWR contributor Rosally Saltsman has written a novel called Soul Journey. You can see it at her website, here.


© 2006, Rosally Saltsman