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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 Oct. 11, 2007 / 29 Tishrei 5768

Huck Finn on the High Court

By Suzanne Fields


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Clarence Thomas tells what it feels like growing up, and his experience wasn't mine. My childhood was pampered. His was hard knocks. I was a Jewish princess. He was an invisible man to someone like me. He suffered the slings and arrows of racism, and I never had a conversation with a black person who wasn't a maid or a janitor until I went off to college. In trendy academic criticism, we would have been each other's "Other."

But there was something in our backgrounds, something in the haze of memory suggested by his memoir "My Grandfather's Son," that led us both to think as cultural conservatives with a desire to restore the path to the American dream.

The path to growing up is toughest when you suddenly discover that what you believe is not necessarily shared by the people you know best. This memoir of Justice Thomas is an astonishing document — one that's not so much about politics as it is a personal story of maturing with an eye for reflection, a realistic look at the cast of characters and the events that shaped his thinking and behavior. It's about what he takes with him and what he leaves behind. If this were a novel, Clarence Thomas would be cast as Huckleberry Finn.

You wouldn't get this from most of the reviews; the mainstream media want to dismiss it as something polarizing. (Unlike, of course, many of the media themselves.) "My Grandfather's Son" has its share of villains, but they're almost archetypal as part of the larger theme: As Huck himself eloquently put it, "Human beings can be awful cruel to one another."


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The Thomas confirmation hearings where Anita Hill emerges to point her finger at the judge reads more like satire than reality, although his account did in fact happen as he describes it. You had to be there — and I was — to believe that United States senators actually asked a grown man, nominated to the highest court of the land, whether he, as a callow college student, had ever watched or talked about pornographic movies. "These were the days when 'Deep Throat' was one of the most talked about movies in America," he writes, "so much so that it became the code name of the then-unknown informant who helped break the Watergate story." The inquisitors and their supporting claque were usually the same people who complained bitterly about the government entering a person's bedroom to violate his privacy.

But more important than the politics of this memoir is the revelation of the love and affection the grown-up man holds for his grandfather, who was a tough, even cruel, taskmaster but who gave the boy the fortitude and self-reliance to survive, to reach excellence. The old man spoke with folk wisdom, distilling his hardscrabble life into idiomatic can-do aphorisms: "Old Man Can't is Dead — I helped bury him."

There's no raft to float Clarence Thomas down the Mississippi to freedom, but education enables him to translate personal experience into poetic insight — to let him, like Huck, "light out for the Territory." The first time he takes a plane ride at the age of 19, he recalls the familiar poem describing flight as ascending into the "sanctity of space" where a man could put out his hand to "touch the face of G-d."

This is not a book about black and white. It's too human a story for that. But it shows how a young man who moves from left to right — through anti-war protests to opposing affirmative action — and matures and learns to think for himself. He learned, like the protagonist in Ralph Ellison's novel "Invisible Man," that he had to stop either acting out a stereotype or responding to one. He had to be his own man. "How could blacks hope to solve their problems if they weren't willing to tell the truth about what they thought, no matter how unpopular it might be?"

No matter what brutal experiences Clarence Thomas endured at the hands of white men or other black men, he doesn't react by playing it safe. As a schoolboy, he won an award for doing well in a Latin bee. The prize was a statue of St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes. He suspected that it meant that some people thought his effort to learn Latin was hopeless. But he was proud of the statue. When a malicious classmate broke off the head, he glued it back. When the classmate broke it off again, he glued it back again. This time, it stayed glued, and he carried it with him wherever he went, all the way to the United States Supreme Court. No hopeless cause there.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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