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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 Oct. 24, 2005 / 21 Tishrei, 5766

Sex is now a matter of health and the law, while morality is reserved for tobacco

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | ''Brookline High teens face charges of statutory rape," read the headline in last Wednesday's Boston Globe. The story below reported that two 17-year-old boys at Brookline High School — a celebrated institution whose graduates include former Governor Michael Dukakis, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, and CBS newsman Mike Wallace — have been charged with statutory rape for having sex with a 15-year-old girl, a classmate who said the sex was consensual. This is the third time since February that students at the school have been accused of having sex with a minor.

The Globe story ran about 1,000 words — roughly the length of the Page 1 report the same day on former Defense Secretary Melvin Laird's call for a gradual troop pullout from Iraq. But unlike the Vietnam-era Pentagon chief, who is almost never in the news, sex scandals involving students erupt so often they could almost justify a beat of their own.

''Scandals" is probably not the right word for them. Are you actually scandalized by news of high school kids having sex? Is anybody? Last month the National Center for Health Statistics reported that more than half of American teenagers 15 and older engage in oral sex; the story got a ton of coverage, but no one seemed terribly dismayed by the information. ''At 50 percent, we're talking about a major social norm," Claire Brindis, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, told The Washington Post. ''It's part of kids' lives."

Oral or otherwise, sex among the young is clearly a ''major social norm" in Brookline. ''People weren't shocked," one Brookline High student told the Globe. ''We've heard it before." Another student agreed: ''It's like, 'Oh, my G-d' — but it's also like, 'Oh, this again.' " School administrators called an assembly ''to remind teenagers about the criminal ramifications of underage sexual activity" — a theme, students said, that has ''been drummed into them in recent months." If the girl had been 16 instead of 15, in short, there would have been no legal issue, no criminal charges, no news story: no big deal.

By definition, that's what a ''major social norm" is: no big deal. But in fact it is a big deal — whether the grownups in their lives are prepared to say so or not — when kids too young to lawfully buy a pack of cigarettes engage in sexual activity that most of them don't yet have the maturity or understanding to handle. In its potential to inflict internal damage or cause pain, sex far surpasses tobacco. But while kids are warned repeatedly and stridently about the dangers of smoking, school-age sex is widely regarded as inevitable. The same people who enforce ''zero-tolerance" strictures when it comes to guns and knives push a very different message when it comes to sex: Keep it ''safe" and legal, and you'll hear no complaints from us.

In a letter sent to parents and students last week, Brookline High principal Robert Weintraub described the latest incident as ''deeply disturbing." But only, it seems, because it was illegal, and because of the bad publicity it would lead to. ''Our society is highly sexualized," he wrote. ''At Brookline High, we have clear rules on sexual behavior which reflect our own values and Massachusetts law. Anyone who has sex with a person under the age of 16 is violating the law. And it doesn't matter if both people are under 16. It is against the law. Once again, the law was not a deterrent."

But is there no higher value than a state's age-of-consent law? Is that really all the guidance that Brookline High has to offer its kids as they wrestle with the overwhelming drives and impulses of sex? Shouldn't those charged with the education of teenagers push back against the relentless sexualization of the culture instead of knuckling under to it? With sex bombarding them everywhere they turn, don't kids need more than ever to be taught that sex is for grownups?

''This is such a sexualized society," Weintraub repeated, almost plaintively, when I phoned the other day. ''Just look at the Internet. Look at the music. You're fighting against the whole world. You're fighting against a society that doesn't supervise its children as carefully as it once did." On school grounds, he said, students are bound by a code of conduct that bans ''inappropriate sexual behavior, such as sexual touching, prolonged kissing, and removal of clothes."

But isn't all sexual behavior ''inappropriate" when you're a kid in high school? Isn't that what students really need to learn?

Weintraub demurred. ''Well, you're talking about a specific code of morality," he said.

There is something awfully sad about a culture in which teenage sex is condoned so long as it is ''safe," while teenage smoking is denounced as categorically wrong.

Sex is now a matter of health and the law, while morality is reserved for tobacco.

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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