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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 Nov. 28, 2006 / 7 Kislev, 5767

By the Way

By Jonathan Rosenblum



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Spiritually rewarding travel


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I love traveling.


No, I'm not such a masochist as to enjoy relocating the lower half of my body after a twelve hour flight spent trying to figure out where to place my knees. And just in case any of those nearest and dearest to me read this column, be assured that returning home is always the best part of the trip.


So what exactly is it that lures me abroad five or six times a year? Sightseeing sans one's better half exercises little appeal. And, in any event, I'm rarely in one place long enough to see more than the airport and the shul in which I'm speaking.


The highlight of nearly every trip is the remarkable people that one meets. I find it uncomfortable to stay in someone's home without getting to know them. That getting-to-know-you process often takes longer than a first date. One suddenly plunges into the life history of someone who only moments before was a complete stranger, and often reveals things about oneself that one would never think of telling the guy who sits next to you in shul. (synagogue).


On my first trip to Phoenix, my hosts turned out to be fellow Chicago natives of roughly the same vintage. Only when the red glow of dawn revealed a surreal lunar landscape, filled with cacti and rock formations, through the floor-to-ceiling glass panes that surrounded their entire living room, did I realize that we had spoken through the night.


Particularly in smaller Jewish communities, where a large percentage of the community is likely to be ba'alei Teshuva (newly observant) or converts, one can count on hearing many fascinating life stories. On one recent trip, I spent a Shabbes (Sabbath) with a doctor in his mid-thirties and his family. My host never had the opportunity to have a formal Jewish education. Yet he has managed to complete at least one-cycle of daf Yomi, the folio-a-day Talmud cycle, and even gives a daily lecture, among several other scholarly undertakings.


And all this, while maintaining a full-time medical practice, and with a houseful of young children, who were not short-shifted for attention.


In the guest room, I even found a thick trilogy of fantasy novels that my host had written as a means of inculcating Torah (religious) values. How one person could do all this in a day is beyond me.


My next host and I first met when he responded by Blackberry to something I had written, and it turned out that he and his family were in Jerusalem for Passover. Our first meeting lasted no more than a half an hour. Now I would be staying with him and his family for a week (a welcome contrast to the usual living out of a suitcase).


In the course of that week, we went from being virtual strangers to close friends. Driving to a 6:00 a.m. Kollel (institute for advanced Jewish studies) every morning, walking an hour each way to shul on the Sabbath, and breakfast and lunch gave us plenty of time to talk. In his early '30s, my host seemed to have it all: a happy marriage, three beautiful children, many friends, and a successful business career. His principle hobby at the time was Iron-Man competitions, involving swimming, running, and bicycling distances beyond my contemplation. (In one competition, on a very hot day, two of the competitors died of heat stroke.)


Yet he still had a gnawing feeling that something was missing. Despite lacking any Jewish religious training, he started reading for hours every day any Torah literature in English he could get his hands on. From there he moved to Talmud learning. For several years, his growing observance and study was largely a solitary pursuit. Only when he was absolutely sure that a full religious life was what he wanted, did he guide his whole family, with much patience, love, and wisdom, to follow him. In all my travels, I don't think I have come across another example of anyone who took on a full observant life at his age, while maintaining the entire external structure of his personal and business life.


OF LATE IT OCCURRED TO ME that it might not be necessary to travel far away to meet Jews who leave one in awe. They are all around us. The difference is that we take those we see frequently for granted.


This morning at davening (prayers) I was distracted by a steady stream of low-pitched cries. The source, it turned out, was a deaf teenager. I have rarely seen him in recent years, but I remember how as a young child he often ran into the street oblivious to traffic. Today he looks like any other rabbinical student, and prays with great fervor, occasionally pointing to the siddur (prayer book) to ask where we are.


Watching him pray, I try to imagine how much did this young man have to go through to get to where he is today; how much energy did his parents and teachers have to devote to him.


A very idealistic young man on my street enlisted in the IDF a few years ago. While still in basic training, he injured his back. Since then, he has been in constant and intense pain, which makes it virtually impossible to sit, even after several major back operations. Yet he still makes it to almost every minyan (communal prayer service), now with the aid of a crutch, and delves into his religious studies standing up. More remarkable, he is never seen on the street without a smile on his face, and nary a word of complaint escapes from his lips. (His father tells me that even at home he always downplays his suffering.)


Our friends and neighbors too have stories, but too often we never bother to listen. We are all poorer for the failure to take note of the greatness right next door.

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JWR contributor Jonathan Rosenblum is founder of Jewish Media Resources and a widely-read columnist for the Jerusalem Post's domestic and international editions and for the Hebrew daily Maariv. He is also a respected commentator on Israeli politics, society, culture and the Israeli legal system, who speaks frequently on these topics in the United States, Europe, and Israel. His articles appear regularly in numerous Jewish periodicals in the United States and Israel. Rosenblum is the author of seven biographies of major modern Jewish figures. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Yale Law School. Rosenblum lives in Jerusalem with his wife and eight children.




© 2006, Jonathan Rosenblum