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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 August 21, 2008 / 20 Menachem-Av 5768

Lessons from the Beyond

By Jonathan Rosenblum

We owe Randy Pausch (of the "Last lecture" fame) and long-time JWR contributor Tony Snow an immense debt of gratitude for their courage, eloquence, and examples of how living well is the best preparation for death. For Jews, the debt will be even greater if they spur us to examine our own tradition concerning death and dying


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Never have the boundaries between the private and public been so blurred. Agonizing deaths from cancer used to occur off-stage. No longer.

In some cases, at least, that blurring of lines has been salutary. Three million viewers have watched Randy Pausch's appropriately named, "The Last Lecture" delivered to a packed auditorium at Carnegie-Mellon University, after the 47-year-old professor (and everyone in the audience) knew that he had only a few months to live. One watches transfixed by the knowledge that someone so alive, so exuberant will soon be dead. Not once in the nearly hour and a half lecture does he lapse, even momentarily, into anything resembling self-pity.

He convinces us that he would not trade his life, no matter how truncated, for any other. With the exception of playing in the NFL, he has realized every one of his childhood dreams — winning lots of stuffed animals in amusement parks, meeting Captain Kirk of Star Trek, being an Imagineer at Disney World. (After The Last Lecture became famous, he even got to scrimmage with the Pittsburgh Steelers.)

He will not live to see his greatest contribution to mankind — software programs that will allow millions to learn difficult material in such a fun manner that they will not even know they they are learning — in mass production. But he is cool with that: Like Moses, he offers, he can see the promised land, even if he will not enter it.

In the Jewish tradition, we wish ourselves and others "length of days and years." The former refers to the amount of living packed into each day. And by that standard, Randy Pausch lived a very long life.

Religious faith is one of the subjects that Pausch explicitly excluded from The Last Lecture. The only deathbed conversion to which he would admit was to Macintosh. Much of what he has to impart, of course, would make good sermon material. The biggest thrill of a popular ten-year course, in which student teams create virtual realities was helping students experience the joy of making others happy. If he could give one piece of advice, it would be: Tell the truth — at all times." His summary of his life lessons: If you do the right thing, good things have a way of happening (though not necessarily in the way you expect).


UNLIKE PAUSCH, Tony Snow Jr., President Bush's former press secretary and long time JWR contributor, who passed away recently from colon cancer at 53, left no final speech. But he did address the "unique gift" of a life-threatening illness several times in his syndicated column — and from the point of view of a man of faith.

Winston Churchill once observed that there is nothing that quite sharpens one's perceptions so much as being shot at without effect. The heightened perception of a bullet whizzing past one's head is momentary; that of cancer, however, lasts at least five years until remission is assured. In the meantime, Snow wrote, "The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense."

He relished the clarity he had been granted, "the field of vision others don't have [about] the mystical power of love, . . . the gravitational pull of faith, . . . the power of hope and limits of fear, [and] a firm set of convictions about what really matters and what does not." He came to see the prospect of death as an opportunity to "fight for the things that give life its richness, meaning and joy."

As they confronted death, Pausch and Snow both felt a strong need to share some of the lessons they had gleaned from the process of dying. Pausch confided that the theme of his talk "realizing your dreams" was really an example of what he called "head fake" learning. His real subject: How to live your life. For his part, Snow rejoiced in the "street credibility" he had gained when it comes to counseling cancer patients. He wrote of his obligation to share the insights he had gained with others, "the most important of which is: There are things far worse than illness — for instance, soullessness."

While the approach of death might be expected to increase self-involvement, the lesson both men drew was the opposite. "Focus on others," said Pausch; "Life does not revolve around us. It envelopes us," wrote Snow. They were clear about the immense amount of good that lies within most people. Snow discovered in sickness how much "people want to do good for others; they just need excuses." And one of Pausch's cardinal rules was: "Wait long enough, and people will both surprise and impress you."

Both achieved much in the short span of years allotted to them, but in the end it was the relationships made that counted most — friends, mentors, and, above all, family. Pausch concluded his lecture by revealing his second "head fake" — "This wasn't for you; it was for my kids" — as the names of his three children appeared on a blackened overhead screen.

"We count our hardships, but not our blessings, Snow wrote in one column. And chief among those was the love of his wife and children.


I FIRST ENCOUNTERED Tony Snow's reflections on dying through William Kristol's eulogy in The New York Times. The Christian Snow had caused the Jewish Kristol to question his life-time assumption that melancholy and existential angst are the hallmarks of intellectual depth. "Could it be that a stance of faith-based optimism is in fact superior to one of worldly pessimism or sophisticated fatalism?" Kristol wondered.

And I wondered, with sadness, whether Kristol had ever been exposed to the riches of his own tradition on the challenges faced by Randy Pausch and Tony Snow — what the Rabbis called "accepting afflictions with love."

Had he read Making Sense of Suffering , a book version of classes given by Rabbi Yitzchak Kirzner, after he had "earned" the right to speak on the subject by being diagnosed with terminal cancer in his early '40s? Could he imagine a young woman who did not even know she was Jewish until her early '20s, but who as she lay dying, surrounded by her husband and young children, less than twenty years later could say, "I have to really work on my Fear of G-d because I'm so overwhelmed by His love"? Had we witnessed the quiet strength of someone stricken with the dread disease still struggling to make it to the early morning minyan on time, while hiding his plight from others?

A woman once told Rabbi Noach Weinberg, the founder of Aish Hatorah, about a new group for strengthening the family. One of their main ideas was a day every week, in which the family spent time together, cut off from external distractions like TV, cellphones, and internet. Another was regular periods of sexual abstinence between husbands and wives to keep the fires of passion stoked, while forcing the couple to relate on other levels as well. "Why couldn't Judaism have something like that?" she asked the dumbfounded rabbi.

We owe Randy Pausch and Tony Snow an immense debt of gratitude for their courage, eloquence, and examples of how living well is the best preparation for death. The debt will be even greater if they spur Jews to examine their own tradition concerning death and dying.

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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.






© 2008, Jonathan Rosenblum