In this issue
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 Nov.3, 2006 / 12 Mar-Cheshvan, 5767

What's this job all about?

By Paul Greenberg

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Dear Student,

It was wholly a pleasure to get your message asking how to write editorials, and I am happy to oblige, since advice costs so little. In his "Devil's Dictionary," the all too realistic Ambrose Bierce defined advice as the smallest coin in current circulation.

I must warn you that I may not be your best source of counsel if you're looking to rise in the world. I came to Arkansas as an editorial page editor, and now, more than 40 years later, I'm still an editorial page editor, if at a different paper. My job title hasn't changed a bit. No upward mobility at all. So you may want to take my advice with a carload of salt.

If you're looking for writing tips, there's no need for me to bore you with what you can find in great profusion in textbooks, magazine articles, how-to manuals and the reams of other guides out there. They're usually put out by writers who've found that the easiest thing in the world to write about is writing.

It was the great short story writer Raymond Carver who warned that when a writer starts talking about technique, you know he's fresh out of ideas.

On slow days, I used to devise lists of different ways to write editorials. At one point, I was up to 42.

No. 1 was H. L. Mencken's sage counsel, "Take a line." Rather than write all around an issue without ever saying what ought to be done about it.

No. 42 was "Read poetry." It doesn't matter whether you prefer Longfellow, Emily Dickinson, Seamus Heaney or the Song of Songs. Poetry awakens the ear, revives the soul, and generally enlivens the spirit within prose. It's like going back to the wellsprings of the language.

In between No.'s 1 and 42, there was the sort kind of sage advice that's harder to practice than preach. Such as: "Aim for a masterpiece, not just another editorial," (No. 25) and "Attack the strongest point of your opponent's case, not the weakest. This is sport, not persecution." (No. 14)

But beyond all those easily given and just as easily forgotten tips, the opinionator needs more than technique. Editorials ought to be based on thought-out principles, which means the young editorial writer ought to develop some. So he won't be blown this way and that by every new idea that comes down the pike.

When the editorial writer finds it necessary to alter or refine or deepen or even abandon a conviction — it's called growth — he should at least be aware of it. That's why he (or she) needs a liberal education, which is what you've had the sense to seek.

Maybe you'll even acquire a sense of history, which gives perspective, so this swirl of a little wheat and a lot of chaff that we call the news won't come as a complete surprise every day.

Adlai Stevenson once said a journalist is someone who carefully separates the wheat from the chaff, then prints the chaff. Lord, the truth hurts.

It's too easy to pander to the kind of readers who like to have their own shifting moods mirrored and magnified every day in their morning paper — or on their favorite Web site. So do we all. It's very gratifying. But only for a little while — before we start to think about it, and realize that gratification does not equal vindication.

The object of this game, always, should be to elevate the public discourse, not further degrade it — however satisfying it may be to parade our pet prejudices in print. We can safely leave that sort of thing to zealous partisans and ambitious politicians, especially in an election year.

A lapsed editorial writer who used to work here at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette — this year he's managing the campaign of a gubernatorial candidate — once told me an instructive story about his grandfather back in Georgia. As a sophisticated young man, he was trying to explain to the old man that not all issues are black and white in the real world, but rather there are different shades of gray, there's not always a right and wrong, yadda-yadda-yadda….

To all of which his grandfather listened patiently, then replied: "Son, there's always a right and wrong. You just have to find it."

That's about the best description I've ever heard of an editorial writer's job. Now go and study.

Good luck,
Inky Wretch

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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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