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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 June 24, 2010 / 12 Tamuz 5770

National Happiness indicator misses mark

By Betsy Hart



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A few summers ago, my family hosted a delightful French teenager for several weeks. Related to friends of ours, she helped with my children in exchange for an introduction to American life.

To this day, particularly during summer, my children will talk about Emmanuel. They were most astounded at her beliefs about G0d -- she was an adamant atheist. And they were delighted with her response to our minivan. She was gobsmacked that such a large vehicle existed.

What really struck me was that Emmanuel was openly horrified at how hard Americans, or at least the ones she was exposed to, generally worked. She was truly disturbed by it.

Now, it's the case that many Americans idolize acquisitions to the expense of their own families. But as I often remind my skeptical children, a work ethic properly understood is a wholesome thing. Work is part of the order of our lives, what gives them purpose and meaning. Even in the most menial or mundane of jobs.

I've written about how I loved waiting tables in high school and college because I so enjoyed the immediate experience of giving people great service and a relaxing meal.

Even, maybe especially, that work gave me happiness.

In a conversation about choosing a profession, I asked Emmanuel, "so what do people in France do?" What I meant was, how do you follow your dreams, prepare for a professional life, think about changing the world for that matter. But she didn't think along those lines at all, so she answered that wonderfully, the French "play a lot of tennis, go to the cafes and gather with family."

Whether France or any European country can much longer afford such a socialist system is beside the point, really. Her view of work reflected a mentality that it was a necessary evil at best.

I thought of this amid increasing news reports that the idea of outright replacing a "Gross Domestic Product" with a "Gross National Happiness" measurement is garnering interest particularly in European economies, led by -- you guessed it -- France.

On the merits, it's obviously silly. One can at least objectively measure economic growth, not so factors that contribute to happiness. If a community has, for instance, no vibrant religious life, that could be happiness to some, and misery to others.

But economists are set to go their own way on this. And such thinking is not much different than Emmanuel's.

But I believe we were designed to find incredible satisfaction from a job well done. So I want to impart to my son, for example, as he begins his adventures in caddying this summer, that it's not just about golf or tips. It's about helping, perhaps, a guy who has worked hard for his family all week have a relaxing time on the golf course so he can better serve his family next week.

Now, that's significance.

Gross National Happiness USA, based in Vermont, is one organization trying to make inroads on the new happiness measurement on this side of the pond. Its Web site (gnhusa.org) states that it envisions "a sustainable future, based on the use of a comprehensive set of social progress indicators that reflects our American values . . . ''

Well, whose "social progress indicators?"

I don't think it's going to get far. And I don't want it to. (I suppose the last thing I need is my kids any more focused on their own happiness than they already are!) I do agree that the way and extent to which we value work in the United States over the years has changed, and gone in a host of different and unproductive directions.

But the antidote, which I'm, well, "working" on in my family, is to better value wholesomely incorporating work into the fabric of our lives. And understanding that whatever produces happiness, it will not come from divorcing the satisfaction of the work from the fruits of our labor.

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 Betsy Hart, a frequent commentator on CNN and the Fox News Channel, can be reached by clicking here.

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