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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 Nov. 29, 2006 / 8 Kislev, 5767

Shoes and me

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Dear Frau Professor,

It was wholly a pleasure to hear from another shoemaker's child with an immigrant background, and to learn that a column about my father had struck "a personal note with me, having been raised by a shoemaker in Germany. Your article describes my old man par excellence, who now in his mid-70s and officially retired from his shop in a small town near Duesseldorf still repairs shoes for his customers."


Why, sure. Good shoemakers grow rarer and rarer, and those who have found one are well advised to stick with him — even though he claims to be retired. Just hand him a pair of shoes in need of heels-and-a-half-sole, and he won't be able to resist making them presentable again. It's a matter of pride.


Now on to your question: Is there is an English equivalent for the German phrase, zusammen schustern? You tell me it is used to describe slapdash work. As an equivalent, I'd suggest the English phrase, "cobbled together." I'd bet other languages have similar phrases, shoes being as ubiquitous in human cultures as feet.


The phrase may be a libel on cobblers of all nationalities, but one can understand how it came about: Cobbling can have the look of a make-do art, especially in cases where some emergency treatment is needed for a floppy sole or a broken heel, or if the customer can afford only half-soles or heels but not both.


I've seen my father study and study a pair of muddy old boots some poor sharecropper had brought in hoping against hope to save them for one more season. Finally, like a surgeon talking to the family in the waiting room, he would deliver his verdict — good, bad, or We'll Give It a Try.


The old man would take me with him some Sundays when he'd drive all over the Ark-La-Tex — to little towns like Longview and Tyler and Lufkin in East Texas, or to Ruston and Minden in the other direction, or up to Magnolia despite the condition of Arkansas roads back then.


The trunk and back seat of the old Chevy would be packed tight with just-fixed shoes. He'd show them to fellow members of the guild as samples of what he could provide if they were interested. And they were. Because there was a war on, and it took ration stamps to buy a pair of new shoes — but not second-hand ones. It was a sellers' market.


There was a Walt Disney comic circa 1944 that had Donald Duck on the cover in a cat costume; Donald was sitting on a backyard fence in the middle of the night and howling — so the neighbors would throw their shoes at him. He was collecting them for resale in a box labeled: SECOND HAND SHOES — NO RATION POINTS. Nobody had to explain that cartoon to me.


I grew up playing in huge mounds of old shoes waiting for my father and his crew to fix and sell. Other kids may have grown up with Dick and Jane and Spot; my early childhood vocabulary included Cat's Paw and uppers.


The golden age of the second-hand shoe business ended with the post-war flood of cheap imports. My father's trade was one of the first casualties of what we now call globalization. Who'd fix a pair of shoes when it was cheaper to buy new ones?


My father had to find another line of work, and wound up selling dry goods and then furniture to the same loyal clientele at the same location on the same Easy Credit Terms. But he remained a shoemaker at heart; just buying and selling stuff never gave him the same satisfaction. I believe I can understand. To this day, the smell of shoe leather is the smell of home.


I still prefer to have my shoes repaired rather than buy a stiff new pair. I used to know a fine shoemaker in a small Arkansas town — Mr. Kraeszig — and I took the same rundown pair of shoes back to him so many times for one final fix that he finally told me it was time to take them off life support. Even the best doctor can do only so much for a patient.


The whole family was in the shoe repair business back then; one of my cousins in Chicago still keeps an old Landis stitcher in his basement and does an occasional half-sole just to stay in practice. Another keeps a beautifully shined shoe last in the hallway of his swank double apartment just off the Magnificent Mile — under a spotlight. Just as a reminder. It's the same one his father had used as owner and proprietor of Harry's Shoe Hospital on Halsted Street. Now, like Harry's, Greenberg Shoe Co., 836 Texas Ave., Shreveport, La., exists only in memory.


Enough about shoes. My respects to you, Frau Professor — and respect, since you teach chemistry. Chem was my downfall as a college student. I was probably the briefest pre-med major Centenary College ever had. A demanding but kind old professor did me and medicine a great service when he offered to give me a charitable D-minus in his course if I would take a solemn oath never — never! — to have anything to do with chemistry for the rest of my natural life. I leapt at the deal, and neither I nor the world of chemistry has ever had cause to regret it.


As for the world of shoemakers, thank you moving me to revisit it as it once was — before plastics had replaced leather in so many shoes, and what once was a widespread craft had become a small specialty. To again be zusammen schustern, or together with shoemakers, if only in memory, was wholly a pleasure.


Nostalgically,
Inky Wretch

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