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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 29, 2014 / 2 Menachem-Av, 5774

Lois Lowry's 'The Giver' a portent of what might be?

By Cal Thomas




JewishWorldReview.com | With his approval numbers sinking to 39 percent a week ago, according to the Gallup tracking poll, President Obama isn't alone in having a bad summer. So is Hollywood.

Entertainment Weekly calls gross receipts for what should have been a blockbuster July 4-6 weekend "downright terrifying." Writes EW, "Not only were grosses down 45 percent from last year's holiday, according to Boxofficemojo.com, but it was Hollywood's worst July 4 weekend since 1999. (And that's not taking into account inflation. In fact, this was the worst July-holiday weekend for ticket sales since the summer of 'Dragnet' in 1987.)"

Arriving in theaters next week is a film that could reverse the trend. It's called "The Giver," based on the best-selling novel by Lois Lowry, which won the 1994 Newbery Medal. The film has an A-list cast, comprised of Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift.

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For those unfamiliar with the book, the storyline depicts what occurs when a society deliberately destroys its social and moral foundations for a "higher purpose." It is "Brave New World" meets "The Matrix" with a dash of "The Stepford Wives" thrown in. In the film, a teenage boy named Jonas (Hollywood aged the main characters for dramatic effect, they were younger in Lowry's book) is the main character through whom the story is told. Jonas lives in a futuristic society in which all war, hatred and pain have been expunged. Even prejudice has been eliminated. So has love. There is no competition and everyone looks and acts alike. Apologies abound (as do acceptances of apologies) to the point of insincerity. When a child reaches age 16, he or she is assigned a job. Spouses are assigned and couples are allowed just two children. They are born to "Birthmothers" who never see them, and spend their first year in something called a Nurturing Center with other babies, or "newchildren."

The website Sparknotes expands on the plot: "When their children are grown, family units dissolve and adults live together with Childless Adults until they are too old to function in the society. Then they spend their last years being cared for in the House of the Old until they are finally 'released' from the society." Released is a euphemism for euthanasia.

The "Giver," played by Jeff Bridges, is the keeper of memories. He remembers a time when people loved, were ambitious and enjoyed personal freedom. He passes along those memories to Jonas, who bravely rediscovers his humanity with all its flaws and joys.

All movies have a "message." "The Giver" has a message for contemporary American culture. As we have thrown off all restraint, individualized morality and considered every idea as having equal value, "The Giver" shows where this could ultimately lead.



I was skeptical when I first heard about the film because it is distributed by The Weinstein Company, run by brothers Bob and Harvey (Harvey is a big Obama supporter), but became less so when I learned that Walden Media produced it. Walden Media, an entertainment company that specializes in family-oriented material, gave us the Oscar-winning "Ray" and "The Chronicles of Narnia" series.

At the end of "The Matrix," Neo says: "I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how this is going to begin. Now, I'm going to hang up this phone, and I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you ... a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries, a world where anything is possible."

"The Giver" echoes a similar theme. It is entertaining, but also instructive. It's time to seriously think about where we're headed. "The Giver" shows us in ways few movies do.

Cal Thomas Archives

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