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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 Dec. 6, 2007 26 Kislev 5768

Wanted: ‘A Five-Cent Synthesis’

By Suzanne Fields


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Once upon a time, the university encouraged students to think big across the centuries, to read and study the best that had stood the test of time. The ivy-covered tower was a place to open the mind, but not so wide that brains fell out. Now that the cost of a college education has risen almost as dramatically as the level of genuine learning has fallen, colleges and universities are turning to consultants, marketers and "branding" experts to sell themselves with snappy mottos.


Not heroic couplets, or even blank verse. The college presidents are not looking for inspiration in their departments of literature; Alexander Pope, who understood that "a little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep," is a dead white man, after all.


Relevance and punch, not substance, is what marketing and branding are about. The Chronicle of Higher Education notes that "motto lotto" at the University of Idaho will cost the school a cool $900,000. The old motto, "From Here You Can Go Anywhere," might give students the wrong idea about what, exactly, the university means by "anywhere." To evoke an expansive landscape and opportunity, they tried out "No Fences," with the tag line "Open Space, Open Minds." That one was dropped, too. The winner is "A Legacy of Leading." Wouldn't "A Legacy of Learning" be more to the point? Or, since the university's athletic teams are called the Vandals, why not a little truth in advertising: "Vandalizing Learning"?


Dartmouth draws on erudition with "A Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness," stolen from both Isaiah and the Gospel of Mark. James Wright, the president of Dartmouth, describes the slogan as a combination of historical resonance and contemporary relevance, harking back to the school's founder, who determined to deliver a Christian education to the Indians inhabiting a "spiritual wilderness." Rob Frankel, who calls himself "the best branding expert on the planet," prefers "Fiat Lux," or "Let There Be Light," for the University of California: "It worked for G-d, so it ought to work for them."


This would be good fun but for the fact that it exposes an extravagantly frivolous way for a university to spend its money. Many universities today exploit part-time instructors hired on the cheap without tenure or health insurance to enable tenured professors teach an eclectic variety of causes, not courses. Looking at literature through the eyes of radical feminists, Marxists, multiculturalists, relativists and queerists isn't what actual education is about.


The New Criterion, a journal trying to plant the "the groves of ignorance" on firmer soil, looks to the book "The Closing of the American Mind" by the late Allan Bloom for his cogent critique of the way the university fuses fads with ideas, substituting silly for serious. This phenomenon has accelerated since he published it in 1987: "Students now arrive at the university ignorant and cynical about our political heritage, lacking the wherewithal to be either inspired by it or seriously critical of it." They often leave having learned nothing.


Openness to everything closes the mind to careful distinctions and civil discourse. It fosters a popular conformism, a moral and intellectual corruption that reduces all meaning to the present tense. Relativism replaces reflection and reason. Opinion, not probing, becomes the baseline of value. The Delphic Oracle of "Know thyself" is translated into a mere narcissistic motto with intellectual pretension.


"Openness used to be the virtue that permitted us to seek the good by using reason," Bloom wrote. "It now means accepting everything and denying reason's power."


Saul Bellow, in a preface to Bloom's book, writes that the university has become a "conceptual warehouse" of harmful influences rather than a place for free inquiry. Academic antagonists no longer listen to each other: "The habits of civilized discourse have suffered a scorching." What happens in university life spills over into our political life and vice versa.


Instead of reforming the university at its academic roots, reassessing the goals of a university education, mottos in consultant-speak become emblematic for what the university has become. The tragic-comic professor in Bellow's novel "Herzog," trying to integrate his learning with his life, jokes that what this country needs "is a good five-cent synthesis," reprising the famous wisecrack about cigars by Thomas Marshall, Woodrow Wilson's vice president. It takes wisdom, in the old meaning of the word, to distill the purpose of education. Fiat Lux.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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