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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 July 3, 2007 / 17 Tamuz, 5767

Me, Ma and Ben Franklin

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I didn't much like the immigration bill that just stalled in the U.S. Senate. In fact, I disliked it. Intensely. And I was for it. You can imagine how the folks who were against it felt about the bill.


You may not have been crazy about it, either, if for reasons different and even opposite from mine. It was the kind of bill that's advertised as a Grand Bargain, by which is meant another shoddy compromise that has something to offend everybody. My own list of objections was starting to get as long and involved as the bill itself. To name just a couple of the big ones:


The bill was mercenary, not family-friendly. It replaced family connections as a basis for gaining entrance to the United States with a point system weighted heavily in favor of those who came bringing skills that the economy needs. Or rather that the government says the economy needs. Those needs wouldn't be determined by private companies or individual employers but mainly by statisticians in Washington.


Socio-economic class would trump family values. That's no way to build a country, or at least it's not the way this one was built. And I kind of like the way this one turned out.


The bill would have instituted a point system that Rube Goldberg could have devised, giving different weights to different qualifications. There would be points for English proficiency, experience living here, a solid job offer from an American employer, and higher levels of education — especially in math, science and technology. Your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free? Who needs 'em? They'd be elbowed aside by software engineers, credentialed professionals and assorted technicians.


We're all products of our own experience, and the first thing I thought when reading an outline of this voluminous monstrosity was: Ma would never have made the cut.


Yes, my mother was young and strong. But she had no formal schooling, none at all. She was, as we liked to say in the family, illiterate in five languages. That's what growing up on a battlefield of the First World War, Eastern Front, will give you: a true European education. Her major was suffering.


What she wanted most in life, desperately wanted, and would have overcome all obstacles to achieve, and just about did, was to be an American. She wanted work, safety, respect, a home, a family, a chance. She knew who she was, and hated where she was — Europe, a word she pronounced to her dying day with a bitterness you could hear and feel and taste at 10 paces.


Ma also knew where she wanted to be: America. America! It would be all Europe wasn't. Here she could be who she was, without apology, or on sufferance. In that sense, she was American before she ever disembarked at the Port of Boston, on February 10, 1921. There wasn't a fence in the world that was going to keep that 19-year-old girl, traveling alone, out of this country.


I saw a picture on television the other day, one of those grainy shots of an illegal who'd just climbed over the fence. Finally on American soil, exhausted, still peering about anxiously, but alive, hopeful, grateful, he stopped to cross himself. I thought of Ma.


How do you quantify that kind of absolute determination, absolute faith? Point system, shmoint system. And that was only the beginning of the problems with this bill. There was its length, its complexity, its obscurity and its encouraging the growth here of a class of guest workers, European-style — people who would never qualify as citizens but stay here as aliens for economic reasons.


If immigrants want to be in America but not of it, we can't use 'em — no matter how valuable their economic skills. There's something a lot more valuable then material wealth: unreserved loyalty. Not keeping one foot here, the other there.


Then there was the bill's requirement that illegal immigrants who want to set out on the path to citizenship go home to apply for re-entry. Come on. Report to be deported? Would you?


Yes, we need to fine and penalize those who have violated our laws and come here illegally. We need to know who these people are and where they are and what they're doing. Most of all, we need to set them on the path to legal, full-fledged citizenship — but not ahead of all those who are following the rules and have waited, for years, to get in.


Far from allowing too much immigration, this bill wouldn't allow enough. Around the world, the most determined, ambitious, hard-working and congenitally hopeful people in the world are dying to get into this country, sometimes literally. We are turning our backs on the most valuable form of wealth ever offered a nation: human capital.


Nor did this bill sufficiently emphasize education for immigrants — education in English, in civics, and generally in what we were once allowed to call Americanism. I'm all for the wonderful mosaic of cultures in this country — social, religious, linguistic, culinary and every other kind in this country of countries. Each contributes something to the way we all see things, think about things. We learn from each other. But here there is room for only one, indivisible, unhyphenated civic culture. A civic and civil culture that gives us a common tongue to argue in, and common ground to stand on. E pluribus unum, it used to be said: From out of many, one. Not from one, many.


So why settle for a cockamamie immigration bill with its point-shmoint system and all the rest of its faults, dangers and unknowns? For the same reason Benjamin Franklin was for another hodgepodge of provisions he wasn't exactly thrilled about, another Great Bargain that was more a vague and untested scheme. It was the deal concocted at a convention held in Philadelphia during the steaming summer heat of 1787: the Constitution of the United States.


The Fourth of July is a good day to re-read Mr. Franklin's final address to the delegates to that convention. It is one of the wisest tributes to the spirit of compromise in a republic ever delivered.


Why would a practical, experienced old sage like Ben Franklin go along with such a vague, dubious system with all its soon to be discovered faults? Because it was a system, rather than the loose, deteriorating non-system, more entropy than energy, that it would replace.


Those senators who voted against this immigration bill were in effect voting to keep what we have now: a non-system, an amnesty in practice that grows uglier, more dangerous, more unjust and exploitative and anarchic every year it's allowed to persist, rather than a hopeful step, however shaky, towards a more perfect Union.

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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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