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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 Jan. 19, 2007 / 29 Teves, 5767

An evening with General Lee

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It has been raining hard two days going on three here in Little Rock. It is a weekend night, when the everyday hubbub in the office has abated, replaced by the steady beat of the raindrops against the skylight. It is the perfect accompaniment for my annual visit with the general, dampening every other sound, shutting out the always shouting, self-absorbed present.


Every year, as Jan. 19 approaches, the general's birthday, I feel like some visitor from the future setting his bags down in unfamiliar surroundings and peering around with fresh eyes, looking for what I may have missed on earlier trips to the past, the past, that whole other country where they do things differently.


It is like the peace of walking into a great cathedral built by hands long since gone; an eloquent, inviting silence descends. I'm undecided where to look first, but I do know this much: This place is holy, made so by the sacrifice, suffering and devotion of another generation. For here is the great dividing point of American history, the rock from which we were formed.


On this one day of the year a columnist in invited to do what he's supposed to do every day: Raise the level of public discourse. The general has that effect on people in these latitudes. The mind comes to attention at his name.


Have you ever noticed? A couple of Southerners might be just passing the time, maybe in a petty political quarrel, when one mentions Robert E. Lee to make a point. Suddenly both are ashamed, made uncomfortable by the profanation. That name is not to be taken lightly, and it's certainly not to be used for political advantage.


The conversation halts, and a stillness sets in. Lee's is a name to conjure with, not exploit. In the end one does not defend or assail the general so much as commune with him, as on this perfect, rainy evening.


How many such evenings did Lee's great biographer, Douglas Southall Freeman, spend studying the old campaigns, following every attack and feint, determined to put together the definitive account of his fellow Virginian? He once tried to calculate how long he'd been at it, and came up with the best estimate he could: 6,100 hours spent writing more than a million words that would cover some 2,000 pages in four volumes. The bibliography alone took up 26 pages, and then there were the maps and appendices . . . . The years piled up.


Yet when it was all done, and the author could proudly inform his editor in New York, the great Maxwell Perkins, that he'd finally finished his master work, he felt as much sorrow as he did pride. For now he would have to leave the general's company. And he was loathe to part.


It may be hard at this distant point to rejoin the general and his times; it may be impossible to do so fully. But once absorbed in Lee, it is even harder to leave. Lee's biographer did not intend to raise one more gaudy monument to the general's memory, but to write as balanced and dispassionate an account as a Virginian could — in the same stoic spirit as his subject. "I do not see any reason," he wrote Max Perkins, "why Lee should be presented as the idol of the South."


The author set out to get at the elusive truth within the flawless marble image of the man. "Reared in the South, I had listened all my life to the extravagances of rhetorical apostrophe on all that pertained to the Confederacy, and I had felt that we were actually lowering our Southern leaders in the eyes of thoughtful persons by attempting to exalt them into demigods. General Lee himself detested these absurdities of panegyric; I determined to write in his spirit, as I interpreted it, and not to permit myself a single laudatory adjective in describing him. He did not need them."


Douglas Southall Freeman went digging for as many tactical errors in the general's record as he could find or imagine — judgments that remain as richly debatable now as when he made them.


But beyond tactics, Lee's biographer concluded that his hero had one great failing — "a mistaken theory of the function of high command." Lee, he wrote, saw his role as getting his legendary Army of Northern Virginia into the most advantageous positions possible at the most advantageous time ("fustest with the mostest"), issuing the most flexible of orders, and then leaving the combat itself to his subordinates and their judgment.


It worked, but not always. Against a foe vastly superior in almost every respect — numbers, resources, mobility — his approach had to fail only once for it to fail decisively, as it did at Gettysburg.


But having said all that, the biographer who was going to devote not a single laudatory adjective to his subject could not help but note Lee's steady superiority in the field, victory after victory, and how he had inflicted half again as many casualties on the foe as his legendary Army of Northern Virginia had suffered. Despite his determination to remain objective, one more biographer of Lee the general had fallen under the sway of Lee the man. "Remember," he wrote, "that Lee was dignity, grace and courtesy personified without a touch of surliness."


It was the man's unbroken wholeness that captivated his biographer, as it does today. Robert E. Lee was a striking example of how a leader can tower over his cause.


In the end, it is not the victorious or the defeated Lee that speaks to us on a rainy night so long after his glories and failures. It is neither the Lee of Chancellorsville, that near-perfect victory, or his surrender at Appomattox that sums up the man and commander.


It is not even the compassionate Lee of Fredericksburg, who could look down from Marye's Heights at the trapped federals below, and say of the carnage he himself had engineered: "It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it."


It is not even the Lee of Gettysburg who speaks most to us in these ungenerous times when the first rule of a leader is never, never to admit error. He still astounds, the commanding general who could ride out to meet Pickett after the disastrous charge on the third day and say only: "All this has been my fault."


Generals Generals with one eye on the next election and the other on how they will tell the story in their memoirs do not say such things. Lee did not blame Longstreet or the fates, and he was that rarity among Civil War commanders: He never wrote his memoirs.


Generals In the end, what stays, and returns with greater power and endurance every Jan. 19, is the man who saw through victory as clearly as he did defeat, and recognized both as imposters. Despite his legend, the general could not command events — yet he remained in full command of his response to those events. Which is why not all the rains that have come and gone since his time have been able to wash out the single name th


at still sums up whatever is best in us and in this, our ever fecund, always forgiving South: Lee.

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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