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December 2, 2014

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 August 24, 2006 / 30 Menachem-Av, 5766

The politics of witchcraft

By Suzanne Fields


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Whether you sink or swim in Virginia Beach has sometimes been a matter of life or death. You could commune with the late Grace Sherwood to find out why even Gov. Tim Kaine thought it prudent to make it a matter of state.


To "commune" may be an archaic way to communicate in the age of instant Internet communication, but you have to get an e-mail address before Internet communicating, and if Ms. Sherwood has an e-mail address, no one knows what it could be. Her neighbors accused her of using sorcerer's powers 300 years ago to poison crops, kill livestock and conjure storms. (Talk about female power.)


She could prove her innocence only through trial by water. If she sank when thrown into the Lynnhaven River, she was deemed innocent, although she could expect to drown before she could enjoy exoneration. If she floated, she was guilty and could expect to die as compliments of the state. Such was justice by Catch-22.


Witchcraft may appeal to a child's imagination around a campfire, but this is not "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" nor "Sabrina the Teenage Witch." It's a cruel part of American history. Belief in witchcraft grew out of the superstitious side of religion, reinforced by the courts. Expert witnesses, like psychiatrists today, were called on to supply reasons why a particular person was thought to be a witch. She — nearly all witches were women — might have suffered from madness, but the terminology was theological, with references to Satan or demons inhabiting her body. Witches were burned in Europe from the 15th through the 18th centuries, even after the Enlightenment wrought by such thinkers as Kepler, Descartes and Copernicus.


Different kinds of ordeals determined guilt. One was the tear test. If a suspected witch couldn't cry on hearing a sad and tragic story, usually about the Crucifixion, this was taken as proof she lacked remorse, even though she might be suffering from what is still known as "dry eye." "Witch-prickers" prodded for insensitive spots, warts or moles where the devil might have entered the body. The water dunking test for sinking or floating was particularly popular in America.


An all-female jury found that Grace Sherwood had two suspicious moles, "not like theirs or like those of any other woman," and she was sentenced to trial by water. (An accusation by a neighbor that she had become a cat and silently crept though a keyhole into her home was dismissed.) Grace was something of a nonconformist who wore trousers before pantsuits became fashionable. She succeeded at growing crops. To the river with her.


Two curious young men, aged 7 and 10, joined me on the search for the place where Grace Sherwood's fate was sealed. We walked down an old path now named "Witch Duck Road," following her steps to the banks of Lynnhaven River where she was tied up in a ritualized way. A rope was crossbound from the thumb of her right hand to the big toe of her left foot and from the thumb of her left hand to the big toe of her right foot. If that wasn't enough to sink her, the godly folk suspended a 13-pound Bible around her neck.


Even for young grandsons fascinated by tales of Houdini escaping from bonds of chains and safes, these knots and weights made escape sound difficult. We rapidly turned the pages of our guide to learn that Grace broke free of her ropes and swam to shore. So far, so bad. She had escaped with her life, but that only proved that Satan inhabited her body. She spent almost seven years in prison on conviction of sorcery.


This summer, three centuries later, Gov. Kaine of Virginia has pardoned her. "With 300 years of hindsight, we all certainly can agree that trial by water is an injustice," the governor said, and reached for a modern political moral. "We also can celebrate the fact that a woman's equality is constitutionally protected today, and women have the freedom to pursue their hopes and dreams."


Grace Sherwood would still be an unpardoned witch but for Belinda Nash, who researched the story for 20 years and nagged the current governor for a pardon. She thought of asking Mark Warner, the former governor, but she calculated that his presidential aspirations might make him loath even to deal with such an arcane issue. And what if he said no? That would be flirting with a hex, and who wants to offend a 300-year-old witch?

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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