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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 March 29, 2007 / 10 Nissan 5767

Messages to my son

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | My Beloved Caleb,

You're 10! I can't believe a decade has elapsed since I wrote the first of these annual letters to you.

"You are only 16 days old," that first letter began, "and virtually everything about you is still a mystery." I marveled at the emotion I felt for an infant I barely knew, and prayed that life would bring you many blessings. But the real point of that letter was that I was already thinking about your character, and how much I wanted you to grow up to be decent, kind, and honest. "Like every parent, I want you to do well," I wrote. "But more than anything else, I want you to do good."

Ten years later, I know so much more about you than I did then. I know that you have a good mind and are an avid reader. I know that you love vanilla ice cream but recoil from grilled-cheese sandwiches. I know that you will try to brazen your way through even the most obvious lie. I know that you're an uncomplaining patient when you're sick and a champion sulker when you're angry. I know that you dote on your little brother.

I also know that your formative years are speeding by. Before long you'll be an adolescent, then a young adult, then off on your own. For better or for worse, your upbringing is half over. But the message of that first letter — character matters and I want yours to be good — is one that I still try to communicate to you. You've certainly heard me say it often enough. When I asked you a few weeks ago to tell Micah what I want both of you to be when you grow up, you knew the answer: "A good person," you replied, with a here-we-go-again roll of your eyes.

About a year before you were born, I reviewed a book by Calvin Trillin called Messages from My Father. It was a heartwarming memoir of Trillin's immigrant father, Abe, and the assorted lessons — some wise, some quite mad — he had conveyed over the years to his son. When I read the book I wasn't yet a father, but as I think about it now, I can't help wondering which messages from your father will stay with you through the years.

Some messages I try to convey through behavior more than words.

I want you and Micah to become loving fathers and husbands, so I make sure that open affection is something you see and get a lot of. Some men are inhibited about kissing or hugging their wives, or addressing them with terms of endearment; you're growing up in an environment where your father makes no secret of his love for your mother.

I hope your children will grow up in a similar environment.

Speaking of your children, I have been shamelessly propagandizing you for years on the advantages of marrying early and having lots of kids — two things I didn't do but wish I had. "When you're 22 years old and you get married and have five children," I remember asking you when you were about 4, "what will their names be?" (As I recall, you said they would all be named Caleb.)

Another message I hope is getting through via example is the importance of apologizing when you've wronged another person. When Mama or I think we've treated you unjustly — perhaps by blaming you for something that wasn't your fault, or overreacting to something that was — we make a point of sincerely saying, "I'm sorry." Some people would rather chew glass than say those two words — but learning to do so is part of being a mature and decent person.

Of course I try to teach you to be nice to your family and friends, but I also want you to learn to empathize even with strangers. Some years ago I adopted a practice that I first encountered in an essay by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin: Whenever we are startled or inconvenienced by the siren of an ambulance or fire truck, I offer a prayer that the EMTs or firefighters arrive in time to help whoever is in danger. "By accustoming ourselves to uttering a prayer at the very moment we feel unjustly annoyed," Telushkin wrote, "we become better and more loving people."

In some ways you are well on your way to becoming a "better and more loving" person. In others, you — like me — still have some distance to go. But at the 10-year mark, Caleb, I've got to say: You're a pretty terrific kid.

All my love,

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Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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