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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. 28, 2006 / 7 Teves, 5767

Come back, little babies

By Suzanne Fields


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Time is running out for the old man with a scythe. He's about to give way to the pudgy baby in a clean diaper. The old man has done his work, and as usual we can't wait to see him go. The baby suggests change, which we can always hope means better, with new energy, new hope, new vitality.


But if we want an accurate depiction of what lies ahead, maybe we ought to look for lots of old men and fewer babies. "The single most important fact about the early 21st century," writes Mark Steyn in "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It," a doomsday book to spook any New Year's celebration, "is the rapid aging of almost every developed nation other than the United States. Canada, Europe and Japan are getting old fast, older than any functioning society has ever been and faster than any has ever aged."



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The birth dearth is real, and there are many reasons for it. In the United States we're replacing ourselves at an average rate of 2.1 births per mother, and large families are increasingly rare. Many women who waited to have their children well into their 30s are disappointed to learn that older women often get pregnant only with difficulty. Working women complain that it's hard to juggle a career and child care and good day care is difficult to find. In the large families of yesteryear, the older kids helped.


My extended family tells the modern American story. My mother had six siblings, my father seven. My husband and I have three children; two of my adult children have two. The family has shrunk.


Personal tax exemptions are generous, but not enough to inspire large families. In 2006, a married couple with three young children could qualify for a total exemption of $16,500, based on $3,300 for each parent and child. That can't cover the cost of raising children and saving for college, but once upon a time we usually didn't decide how many children to have by merely calculating the costs. In an adult-centered society, we do.


Other countries suffer a severe baby drought. In Germany, for example, the birth rate is 1.37 per woman, and the government thinks extra money will be the magic incentive to change that. After the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, a woman who gives birth will get a bonus. "Elterngeld," or "parents money," will bestow a government grant of 67 percent of her last net income, tax free, up to 1,800 euros a month ($2,380), if she stays home with a new babe. Parents can receive these grants for 12 to 14 months.


"From Christmas onwards, I will be standing on my head," one pregnant women who is due at any time tells der Spiegel magazine, counting on the old wives' tale that standing upside down delays birth. Europeans will be watching whether such subsidies can reverse the birth dearth, but skeptics abound. They argue that giving away government money aims incentives in the wrong direction, forcing women back into a 1950s family model of breadwinner Dad and stay-at-home Mom. But many women say they like it that way while their children are young.


Women in Germany, like women in America, wage "mommy wars." A particularly troubling German statistic is that at least 40 percent of women with college degrees are childless. Rural communities post higher fertility rates, which leads one demographic expert to suggest that the best formula to encourage fertility is to halt your education, marry early and live on a farm.


Ursula von der Leyen, the German family minister, is an exception to the trend. Frau von der Leyen is a medical doctor, a trained economist and an attractive blonde with seven children. But in Germany, where there's great pressure to be a nonworking "good mother," her example doesn't get much emulation. Career women find Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is childless, a more appealing model.


When you hear the phrase "baby gap" in Germany, it's not about a clothing label for youngsters but a term for men and women who in their old age can't count on support by an inflated welfare state. There won't be enough young people to pay all those taxes. Most of Europe is becoming an aging society of elders.


A book called "The Vanishing Adolescent" was popular 40 years ago. It wrongly predicted that teenagers would be deprived of their youth if they were rushed into adulthood. It didn't happen. Maybe the doomsday predictions are premature, and Cupid will rescue us yet. We'll need more babies crawling behind the old man with the scythe in new years to come. For auld lang syne.

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