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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 March 15, 2007 / 25 Adar, 5767

Much Ado About A Lot

By Suzanne Fields


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | William Shakespeare makes it to the attention of Washington's chattering class only a little more often than Harold Stassen. But tonight at the Kennedy Center, an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court will preside over the trial of Hamlet. Miles Ehrlich, a former U.S. district attorney, will press the state's case against Hamlet — portrayed by an actor, who is not expected to take the stand — for slaying Polonius. Abbe D. Lowell, a Washington superlawyer who defended superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, will make the case that the melancholy Dane was mad, and not responsible.


Justice Anthony Kennedy first created "The Trial of Hamlet" in 1994, staging it in a conference room at the Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsburg served on the jury. This time, Justice Kennedy's trial is particularly fascinating in Washington because it follows so closely on the trial of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, with its complex questions of law, responsibility and how justice is properly measured. Shakespeare is an original source for insights into the interaction of politics and responsibility, guilt and innocence, ambition and the public good.


With the public-opinion polls showing the body politic already twitching as the early presidential campaign gets underway, we need all the help we can get to begin sorting out the issues and personalities. Macbeth, for example, has lessons in how personal ambition sometimes outruns considerations of what's good and bad for the country. Hillary Clinton has long been compared to Lady Macbeth, and her husband, like Richard III, is a reminder of how the exercise of public power can be abused in the pursuit of women for private pleasure. Nobody peers deep into the psychological motives of love and war — measuring the heights to which humans can climb and plumbing the depths to which they can descend — quite like the Bard. All the world's a stage, after all.


How Shakespeare influences politicians and their thinking is on special exhibition just now at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington. We learn how devoted George Washington, John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln were to his works. When Franklin D. Roosevelt contemplated seeking an unprecedented third term, one cartoonist depicted him pinning numbered bees to a wall over the caption: "To bee or not to bee." At the height of antiwar fever amid the struggle in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson was infamously portrayed in a popular parody called "MacBird."


Shakespeare was popular everywhere earlier in our history. His plays toured mining camps, and bound copies stood next to the Bible on bookshelves in frontier homes. The letters of Civil War soldiers, many unlettered beyond three or four years in a rude one-room schoolhouse, were laced with references from Shakespeare's works. Not until the late 20th century would university professors demote him, applying the arcane jargon of literary criticism known as deconstructionism. Instead of recognizing the greatness of his universality, the professors treated him merely as a "cultural construct," specific to his times but not to ours.


In "The Appropriation of Shakespeare: Post-Renaissance Reconstructions of the Works and the Myth," bombast becomes the tool to deny that Shakespeare wrote any masterpieces at all. In language that would draw rebuke from a backwoods high-school English teacher, one university "scholar" typically reduces his significance with this barely intelligible gobbledygook: "Veneration of an author has as much to do with his or her potential as a cultural hero who can be appropriated to observe our non-literary needs as with literary 'greatness.'" King Lear is regarded as no more profound than Batman or Robin.


When Paul Cantor, a professor of English at the University of Virginia, attended a World Shakespeare Congress in Tokyo, he was shocked by how many English-speaking scholars from Britain, Canada and the United States had reduced Shakespeare's works to mere examinations of "sexism" and "masculine" points of view. Others obsessed over "power relations," demonstrating how Shakespeare reflects only Western imperialism and literary "colonization." But scholars from countries once behind the Iron Curtain testified to the liberating power of Shakespeare's universal insights. They recalled that Josef Stalin banned the Shostakovich opera, "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk," because he didn't want anyone getting ideas from seeing the depiction of a tyrant murdered on stage.


The greatness of Shakespeare lies in his extraordinary language and insight into the human condition, portrayed in complex characters who breathe life into art. Many high school and college students never any longer discover his plays, or learn to appreciate how many of his words have become embedded in the common culture. It's an injustice beyond the jurisdiction even of a Supreme Court.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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