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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

Divining Ms. Kagan

By Rabbi Avi Shafran





Conventional wisdom is that the newest supreme will not change the Court's ideological makeup. With respect to issues of religious freedom, that may not be the case

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Imagining that one can divine how a new Supreme Court justice will rule on the sort of fundamental issues often brought before the High Court — particularly when the justice has never before served as a judge — is a pastime best left to gamblers and fools.

Even Justices who had long judicial records before ascending to a seat on the nation's highest court have sometimes surprised observers with positions they subsequently took. Certainly a Justice who has no track record on the bench whatsoever — our newest member of the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan — cannot at this point be counted on as a safe vote for anything.

Still, there are subtle indications of the new Justice's legal philosophy that can be at least noted with — depending on one's beliefs — either hope or dread. Certainly, the fact that Americans United for Separation of Church and State expressed concern during the nomination process about Ms. Kagan's views on religious liberty and the funding of religiously sponsored social service programs is, at least from an Orthodox Jewish perspective, cause for hope.

The descriptively named organization's concerns were about Justice Kagan's attitude toward the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, which bars the government both from "the establishment of" religion (the Establishment Clause) and from "prohibiting the free exercise of" religion (the Free Exercise Clause). During the hearings on her nomination, Ms. Kagan mirrored the inherent tension between the two clauses by stating that "there needs to be some freedom for government to make religious accommodations… and some freedom… to enforce the values of the Establishment Clause."

Her further comment, that the Constitution intends to "ensure that you have full rights as an American citizen… no matter what your religion is… and to ensure that… people — because of their religious belief… [are not placed] at some disadvantage with respect to any of the rights of American citizenship," might have discomfited some. Many religious Americans, though, had reason to take heart at Ms. Kagan's words.

As they did about revelations of other positions she has promoted. When, for instance, in 1995, Congress endorsed the concept of "charitable choice" — the forerunner of the "faith-based" program, which enables religious groups to access federal funds to provide social services — Ms. Kagan, then Bill Clinton's associate White House Counsel, wrote in a memo that she was not in favor of a provision that would bar such funding for "pervasively sectarian" organizations.

Similarly, two years later, in a memo on a Clinton proposal to subsidize volunteers working with religious groups, Ms. Kagan wrote: "It seems to me that we have to give people a very strong signal that we need to find some way of including people who are doing service activities under the auspices of [religious] programs." She added that "At the very least, we should be able to include participants in programs that aren't 'pervasively sectarian'" — seeming to imply that she was even open to the broader model.

And in 1999, she called herself "the biggest fan… in the building" of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which helped prevent the enactment of laws that might substantially hinder Americans' religious freedom. (Although her declaration was in the context of advising then Vice-President Al Gore's staff to not mention it at what she considered a sensitive time.)

Perhaps most encouraging (and impressive in a personal way) was her willingness, during hearings on her nomination last year for the post of solicitor general, to admit that something she wrote in 1987 while clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall was "deeply mistaken" and "utterly wrong." That something was the notion that "all religious organizations should be off limits" when government funding is being used to offer instruction to adolescents about their personal behavior. Although she took pains to note that "the use of a grant in a particular way by a particular religious organization might constitute a violation" of the First Amendment if the funds were used to promote "specifically religious activity," her description of her earlier memo as "the dumbest thing I've ever read" indicates a realistic and inclusive attitude toward religious groups' involvement in federal programs — and a refreshing honesty.

None of which is to say that there aren't things in Ms. Kagan's record that are cause for concern to some of us religious Americans.

During her tenure in the Clinton administration, she played an aggressive role — some would say an inappropriate one — in defending "partial birth abortion." On another social front, her ban on military recruitment at Harvard Law School where she served as Dean, because of the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, has generated some concern regarding her apparent support for some of the more extreme positions of the "gay rights" agenda. (Although, during her nomination hearings in 2009 for the position of Solicitor General, she did clearly state that "there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.")

Still, these qualms aside, it would appear that our new Supreme Court Justice has deep sensitivity to issues of religious liberty. That is cause for optimism, especially when her views are contrasted with those of the man she has replaced — Justice John Paul Stevens. Justice Stevens consistently voted against government aid to religious institutions, and took an extremely narrow view of the scope of protection afforded by the Free Exercise Clause.

The conventional wisdom is that Justice Kagan's replacing former Justice John Paul Stevens heralds no real change in the Court's ideological makeup. With respect to issues of religious freedom, though, that may not be the case.

Will Justice Kagan turn out to be Stevens redux or a Justice of a very different stripe? Time will tell, but, at least with regard to her approach to the First Amendment's religion clauses, here's hoping we will see a meaningful upgrade.

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Rabbi Avi Shafran is director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America.






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