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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 May 4, 2006 / 6 Iyar, 5766

An encounter with Lech Walesa

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | His hair is white now, his waistline is thicker, and the day is long gone when his legs could propel him over a shipyard wall, as they did in Gdansk one memorable day in August 1980. But Lech Walesa's face is as familiar as ever and his personality just as brash and charismatic. Even now, to experience Walesa in person is to sense the gifts of leadership and daring that enabled a simple electrician to parlay a workers' protest into the communist world's first free trade union, and that union — Solidarity — into the engine of Poland's liberation.


I met Walesa this week at a luncheon hosted by the Grand Circle Foundation, the charitable arm of Boston's Grand Circle travel company. Speaking through an interpreter, he reflected on the nature of the force that shut down the Soviet empire, and on the role of the United States in a unipolar world.


In the 1960s and 1970s, he said, no one believed Moscow's domination of Poland could be successfully challenged — not with 200,000 Soviet troops permanently stationed on Polish soil, and another million troops elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Nothing short of a nuclear war, Poles imagined, could ever be powerful enough to shatter the Iron Curtain.


It was then, Walesa said, "when we felt completely discouraged and totally helpless," that a Polish cardinal became pope, and began reminding his countrymen that they were not powerless to confront even the mighty Soviet Empire. When John Paul II made his first pilgrimage to Poland in 1979, millions of Poles turned out to see and hear him. "Even the communists and secret police came and learned to cross themselves," laughed Walesa. "Of course they didn't know the proper words, so they simply said, 'one-two-three-four-five."' It was an eye-opening moment for many Poles, who suddenly realized something about those party members making the sign of the cross: "They're not really communists. They're merely radishes — red on the outside only."


Inspired by the pope's words, Poles began to believe that freedom could be theirs if they only had the fortitude to stand up for it. Little more than a decade later, the Berlin Wall was down, the Warsaw Pact was dissolved, and the Soviet Union — its tanks and troops notwithstanding — was no more. "So you see," Walesa said, "how much morality, spirit, and faith in G-d can accomplish."


Twenty-five years after Time magazine named him "man of the year," Walesa sounds almost nostalgic for the clarity of the Cold War, when the United States and the USSR confronted each other across a deep moral gulf. "Until not so long ago, there was another superpower — the Empire of Evil, which could be blamed for much that was wrong in the world." And if the Soviet Union was an evil empire, Walesa said, the United States was "an empire of good" — a beacon of hope to millions trapped behind the Iron Curtain. But "today, there is no longer an Empire of Evil — so who gets blamed for everything that goes wrong?"


Walesa seems unable to decide what he thinks about America's position in a world without the Soviet Union. On one hand, he laments that the United States, though undoubtedly the world's military superpower, is no longer the moral and political leader it once was. He faults America for appointing itself "the policeman to the world" and going to war without the imprimatur of the United Nations. He complains that Washington ignored his idea for a post-Cold War "Marshall Plan," and for not adopting his scheme to transform the UN into something approaching a world parliament.


On the other hand, he bluntly defends the Bush administration's aggressiveness in confronting international terrorism. "If the superpower had not recognized the dangers after September 11" and reacted as it did, he says, Al Qaeda and its supporters would have grown even bolder. "Today the world would be in total chaos, total revolution — a total mess."


It is something of a muddled message, and I wonder if it reflects an unresolved internal conflict that tugs Walesa in two directions. Does he see himself first and foremost as Walesa, the champion of Solidarity — the natural-born leader who grasped instinctively that evil must be fought, that it will not fade away of its own volition, and that those who insist on observing every diplomatic nicety in fact are insisting on doing nothing at all? Or is he Walesa the Polish statesman — the dignified ex-president who craves the world's good opinion, and who knows that nothing wins points in international circles like chiding the United States?


Either way, his place in history is assured. Without Walesa, Solidarity might never have been born and Poland's communist dictatorship might never have died. He was a simple electrician from Gdansk who had faith and courage when it mattered most. Because he did, a decades-old dictatorship was toppled, and millions of Europeans live today in freedom.

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.

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

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