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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 Jan. 31, 2011 / 26 Shevat, 5771

President Obama and that ‘exceptional’ thing

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | He didn't say it. That word: "exceptional." Barack Obama described an exceptional nation in his State of the Union address, but he studiously avoided using the word conservatives long to hear.

It's a funny thing, this focus on a single word that isn't much heard from this president but that tumbles so easily - and adamantly - from the lips of Republican contenders for his title.

We're going to be hearing it a lot in the coming months as Republicans try to out-exceptionalize each other for the presidential nomination. Exhausted already?

The exceptional issue may be political, but it isn't only that. The idea lies smack at the heart of how Americans view themselves, and the role of government in their lives and in the broader world. Is America exceptional or isn't she? Is there something about this country that makes us unique in the world?

Of course there is, and Obama has frequently acknowledged those things, including in the State of the Union. But he seems to avoid the word because, among other possible reasons, it is fraught with layers of meaning and because, to some minds, there's always the possibility he doesn't quite believe it. A December poll (USA Today-Gallup) found that 37 percent of Americans don't think Obama believes that the "U.S. has a unique character that makes it the greatest country in the world."

This nevertheless leaves a majority - 58 percent - who do think he believes it, compared with 86 percent who thought Ronald Reagan did, followed by Bill Clinton (77) and George W. Bush (74).

On the right, the word "exceptional" - or "exceptionalism" - lately has become a litmus test for patriotism. It's the new flag lapel pin, the one-word pocket edition of the U.S. Constitution. To many on the left, it has become birther code for "he's not one of us."

Between left and right, however, are those who merely want affirmation that all is right with the world. Most important, they want assurance that the president shares their values. So why won't Obama just deliver the one word that would prompt arias from his doubters?

I asked House Speaker John Boehner that question in a recent interview, curious to see how he'd explain the chasm between Democrats who see no need to talk of exceptionalism and Republicans who consider it crucial to their national identity.

Boehner said that either "the left" seems afraid of the word or, perhaps, they don't believe it. This caused a small tempest of protest in some quarters.

Obama did indeed speak of America's uniqueness, even recognizing Boehner, who grew up without privilege to become the third-most powerful person in government, as an exemplar of the American dream.

Do we make too much of a single word?

Exceptionalism became radioactive a couple of years ago when Obama was asked at an overseas news conference whether he subscribes to "the school of American exceptionalism that sees America as uniquely qualified to lead the world."

His answer has haunted him since:

"I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."

I remember thinking at the time: Bzzzzt. Wrong, Harvard. That is not the correct answer. There was more to his response, in fact, but the impression was already set.

What Obama added was that "we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional."

Not so hard to say after all?

Calling oneself exceptional inarguably is problematic in the midst of an ongoing financial crisis; two wars that have resulted in untenable casualties; and crippling debt and deficits that betray the trust of future generations and behold us to China.

It also may feel jingoistic and inappropriate in these global times for one nation to set itself apart for self-admiration.

We mustn't brag, after all. Great nations don't have to remind others of their greatness. They merely have to be great.

Whether to take exception to exceptionalism is an interesting problem for the president and the nation. Perhaps it is best resolved through a presidential address in which Obama takes possession of the word and settles the question once and for all: What does American exceptionalism mean in today's world?

Mr. President?

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