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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 January 8, 2008 / 1 Shevat 5768

The music of time

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Dear Music Critic,


It was wholly assuring to learn that someone musically literate is also less than taken with the late but not great Anton Webern, the modernist composer whose strange little work, "Five Pieces," inspired some less than admiring words from me in a recent column.


But whereas I was amused by his modernism, you were appalled. Not just by Webern's discordant music but by his discordant life. As you point out, the German composer wound up a Nazi sympathizer and, in the chaos at the end of the Second World War, was accidentally shot and killed when he stepped outside his house for a smoke. What a ridiculous way to go, although it does match his music. It struck you, however, as poetic justice:


"How poetically just that his insignificant music was cut short by his need for a cigarette. How poetically just that his emotionless music was cut short in such an emotionless manner. How ironic that such calculated music should be cut short with so little calculation on either side. No composer's early death cost our civilization less, even had he not been a Nazi, which is amazing — such mathematical music reaching out for pagan irrationality!"


A cruel judgment, sir, if an all too accurate one.


Me, I'm not amazed that an artist who cuts himself off from the past would wind up without a future. What lends art, or life, meaning but its connection to what has gone before and will go on after? By composing in a void, relying only on abstract theory, Webern cut himself off from his own time-bound humanity. He was going to reinvent music, free it from its past, change it forever.


In that sense, Webern's utter rationality was irrational, for it denied the nature of man as a creature in time. Much as we may foolishly long for timelessness, that is not our province.


I understand that the American soldier who fired the fatal shot spent the rest of his life guilt-stricken. That GI may be the most human element in Anton Webern's story, for he was in touch with his humanity, and took responsibility for his actions.


All of which brings to mind what is emerging as the theme of the coming election year, which already seems to have arrived. It's pounced on us unexpectedly early, like a hungry tiger. Its mantra: Change.


Can a presidential candidate get through a speech without promising Change? It's as if they were all relying on the same focus group that decided what voters most want is Change! Which could be the mantra of all modernity itself. Change to what or from what or instead of what — all that goes unspecified.


There's no need to go into detail. We the People are simply expected to react favorably to any mention of Change. Call it the political version of a Pavlovian response. The marketing of presidential candidates still has more in common with selling soap than ideas.


When I took Advertising 101 in journalism school back in the age of teletypes and hot type, both of which now have the antique air of quill pens and parchment, I was told that the two most powerful words we could use in writing ad copy were New and You — a reflection of Americans' (1) constant infatuation with change, and (2) our complete self-absorption. At least that much hasn't changed.


Much like Anton Webern, we are so intoxicated by the blank, purely abstract future (A Bridge to the 21st Century!) that we lose touch with the very real past. And having forgotten it, we find ourselves on a bridge to nowhere, suspended in mid-air indefinitely.


And so, no longer anchored in the values of the past, much like Herr Professor Webern, we become prey to the ideology of the moment. In his sad case, it was National Socialism. If he'd been a Russian, it would have been the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. He had no ballast to keep him from being swept away. So we, too, run after ever novelty. Please, anything but the old and familiar, drab as prudence and gray as duty.


It's a familiar pattern: Note the star-stuck look in the eyes of the younger enthusiasts at any rally for a presidential candidate. Their candidate is going to change things forever. A new beginning!


But unless we maintain a bridge to the past, there will be nothing to pass on to the future, and we will find it as empty and unsatisfying as, well, as Webern's "Five Pieces," which is now only an historical curiosity itself.


Much as we fight against it, or even deny it, we're all destined to be part of the past. We can make it a meaningful or meaningless past, a full or empty one, a noble or base one, but we can't avoid becoming part of it — no matter how much we chant Change.


With a sigh, and a smile.
Inky Wretch

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