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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. 4, 2010 / 26 Tishrei, 5771

Let's try friending decency

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The suicide of an 18-year-old Rutgers University student following an unimaginable invasion of his privacy has launched an overdue examination of casual -- and possibly criminal -- disregard for others' personal space.

Freshman Tyler Clementi walked onto the George Washington Bridge the night of Sept. 22 and jumped over the edge. A few days earlier, authorities say, his roommate, Dharun Ravi, and a friend, Molly Wei, had placed a webcam in the dorm room Clementi and Ravi shared, filmed Clementi in an intimate encounter with another man and posted it online for all to see.

There are several dimensions to the story, complicated by the fact that the victim was apparently gay. Based on Internet postings, it appears that Ravi targeted his roommate because of his sexual orientation.

Was it a hate crime or simply a stupid prank that once would have been inconceivable? It was surely an act of unforgivable bullying. Should the alleged perpetrators be prosecuted for invasion of privacy, with which they have been charged, and/or a hate crime?

Answers to those questions will have to await investigators. For now, other questions also demand our attention. How did we get here? How could anyone think that another's most private, intimate moment was fair game? Although Clementi was filmed with another man, one can imagine as easily a roommate spying on a heterosexual encounter.

The emergence of social media, combined with mass access to technology -- camera-equipped cellphones, pocket-size video cameras and blogospheric distribution -- has enabled an insatiable market for spying and gossip. The result has been a cultural breakdown in decency and a blurring of the boundaries of what should be private and public.

Even this discussion feels like an invasion of privacy, given the unbearable pain the Clementi family must be enduring. But sometimes it takes a tragedy to shake us from complacency.

As a community of decent people, we have to rally ourselves to stop the insanity of narcissism and exhibitionism that inculcates the broader notion that nothing is off-limits.

Especially poignant was Clementi's final note to the world, a Facebook status update saying that he was going to kill himself -- an electronic adieu to his "friends," those random and often anonymous folks who sign up to follow one's life online.

Friend, the noun, has become meaningless in world where "friending" is a verb. And privacy, I keep hearing, is dead forever. I don't buy it.

There once was a time when respecting others' privacy was a matter of manners. Of course, it was also considered bad manners to display oneself -- or one's affections -- in public. Some call it puritanism. I call it civilization.

Too late, you say? Not at all. We have a model for this sort of thing. There was a time when many Americans commonly smoked cigarettes in public. Some of us didn't like it; it was bad for health and bad for society. Few smoke in public spaces today, in part because laws prohibit it but also because smokers were made to feel ostracized. They were targeted as pariahs.

Whether or not you agree with the anti-smoking movement, you can concede that it worked. Why not apply the same template to those who would invade another's space? We don't want to outlaw cameras or otherwise limit free expression, but we can certainly make it unattractive and unacceptable to intrude on others. Next time someone takes your picture or posts it on the Internet without your permission, raise the roof. Point a finger. Stand athwart civilization and yell, "No more."

When others are victimized by another's lack of scruples, be outraged. And never publish or distribute images of anyone without his or her permission.

It's the least we can do -- and not do -- for Tyler Clementi.

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