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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 April 4, 2008 / 28 Adar II 5768

The truly great

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I think continually of those who were truly great….
Born of the sun they traveled
a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honor.

       —Stephen Spender


You know how it is. You're flipping though the paper, get to the obituary page, and there is the name of some once prominent personage — a politician, an artist, an athlete or some other celebrated figure you may never have met, and who hasn't been in the public eye for years. But he long ago became an indelible part of your own consciousness, someone who has entered not just your thoughts but dreams.


So that, years later, long after the name has disappeared from the daily news or Broadway marquee, you see it atop an obituary, and you want to read every word, not just to learn more about a figure who had such a powerful effect on you, but to relive the experience he gave you.


Such a name is that of Paul Scofield, the British actor who has died of leukemia at the age of 86. He was a man of the stage who gave many a memorable performance, for he brought to his craft a remarkably adaptable voice, body and persona. At six-foot-two, he could play a towering monarch, yet disappear into the background if that was required. To quote the director Peter Brook, who recalled waiting for Mr. Scofield to rehearse the part of the priest in Graham Greene's "The Power and the Glory": "The door opened and a small man entered. He was wearing a black suit, steel-rimmed glasses and holding a suitcase. For a moment we wondered why this stranger was wandering on our stage. Then we realized it was Paul, transformed. His tall body had shrunk, he had become insignificant."


Paul Scofield had many triumphs on stage, including his Salieri in "Amadeus." The actor Richard Burton, no small talent himself, once said that, "of the 10 greatest moments in the theater, eight are Scofield's."


The role that made Paul Scofield's lined features and timbered voice internationally known was that of Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt's "A Man for All Seasons." The relationship between a great play and a great actor is complicated. The actor is both true to the playwright's lines and truer, for he makes them distinctively his own. It is one thing to read Robert Bolt's lines on paper, and be moved and enlightened. It is another but different thing to have been moved and enlightened by watching Paul Scofield bring the lines to stage, screen and life.


So much about "A Man for All Seasons" informs and awakens an amnesiac modern mentality. For we have long since forgotten the ideas the play champions: a reverence for law for itself, quite beyond the game playing that lawyers have made of it; a reverence for a God whose will we hope to honor and discern, however imperfectly, through His greatest gift, Reason; and, perhaps most un-modern of all, the recognition that perjury is the ultimate treason, betraying not just the law or society or an oath, but one's very self. Can we even speak of the soul now without embarrassment?


The great project that Robert Bolt undertook with his little play might be called The Restoration — of values. That it should have been written just as the 1960s were dawning, and with them that decade's great challenge to all the old pieties, only adds to its continuing power and freshness. For there may be nothing so novel as the defense of old truths.


In a preface to the play that ought to be required reading in law schools, the playwright tried to explain to the modern reader why a man would go to his death rather than just "put his hand on an old black book and tell an ordinary lie." Robert Bolt did so through the written word, Paul Scofield through the spoken. The playwright provided the lines, but it took a great actor to give them a vivid power that seals their meaning in our minds.


Paul Scofield would win both a Tony and an Academy Award in the 1960s. Decades later, no one who had seen him in "A Man for All Seasons" was likely to forget its continuing relevance when the smoothest of American politicians and lawyers were explaining that, far from a high crime and misdemeanor, perjury was no great matter — at least not if committed by a political leader of sufficiently high rank like a president of the United States.


To those who knew the play, the question that captured a nation's flitting attention at the end of the 20th Century had been definitively answered long before — not just in Robert Bolt's plain words but in the rolling, deeply humane cadences of Paul Scofield's soft but far-carrying voice. The Sir and Saint Thomas that he gave the world remains unforgettable after all this time: by turns knowing and innocent, playful and sorrowful, and, perhaps most impressive of all, the most amiable and sociable of men.


Paul Scofield was a shy, private man off-stage. You wouldn't find him discussing his politics or performances on late-night talk shows. Once the curtain fell, he became one of the throng of unnoticeable commuters headed home after work to wife and family.


The actor respectfully declined the knighthood that was offered him in the 1960s, perhaps because he didn't want the attention, perhaps because becoming Sir Paul might have put a barrier between himself and his fellow actors. Like all the truly great, he realized he was but one of a whole cast. No matter. Actors know their trade, and always treated him as the knight he was anyway.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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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