In this issue

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 Jan. 3, 2005 / 22 Teves, 5765

What's in a Name?

By Jonathan Tobin

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Do new 'brands' bring meaning, money and happiness to Jewish groups?

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ten years ago, philanthropist Samuel Bronfman made something of a stir in the Jewish world when he proposed that the three main Jewish defense groups in this country merge.

He believed that it was long past time for the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress and the Anti-Defamation League   —   who were all committed to fighting anti-Semitism, supporting Israel and a platform of social justice   —   to pool their efforts and merge.

The reaction to Bronfman's proposal from the staff and the lay leadership of the three groups was, to put it mildly, less than enthusiastic. The proposal was dutifully applauded by many in the Jewish world and then quickly forgotten.

The two AJCs had at various times actually met to discuss merging. But the complicated business of meshing two disparate sets of professionals and volunteers   —   and the egos of all of them   —   was never resolved.

Instead, the groups continued on their merry way, fighting for the scraps that a declining Jewish population and, even more importantly, a shrinking donor base could throw them.

Both continue to do important work, though all stumble at times on the political rocks, as their traditional constituency forces them into defining the secular liberal agenda as Jewish issues.

While the older and more prosperous AJCommittee has fared better than AJCongress, the ability of each to sustain itself may be diminishing. That has led the bright lights there to think about a way to increase visibility. Listening, no doubt, to the siren songs sung by public-relations consultants, some of the good people at AJCommittee are pondering a name change. According to a recent report in The Jerusalem Post, the group's board has discussed renaming the organization in time for the group's 100th anniversary in 2006.

Apparently, they want something new and snappy that will speak of their heightened concern about the worldwide rise of anti-Semitism and the continuing propaganda assault on the State of Israel.

Of course, those who want to do away with the old moniker are right when they say it is easy to confuse it with the other AJC. Jewish life is a melange of alphabet-soup groups that are virtually indistinguishable to those not immersed in the minutiae of the so-called "major Jewish organizations."

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Once upon a time, you didn't need a scorecard to tell the difference between the AJCommittee and the AJCongress.

The committee was founded in 1906 by the wealthy grandees of the old German Jewish elite, such as Jacob Schiff, Oscar Straus and Cyrus Adler, and their redoubtable president Louis Marshall. Moved to act by the plight of victims of czarist pogroms, the committee came into existence as a sort of council of great men who acted out of what the Enclopaedia Judaica calls a sense of "noblesse oblige." They used the traditional tactic of the "court Jew" who interceded on behalf of his less fortunate brethren.

By contrast, the AJCongress, created by Rabbi Stephen Wise in 1918, was seen by the great men of the other AJC as populist in nature and radical in character.

But before another generation had passed, the differences between them were already starting to recede. Wise, who came to prominence as something of a rabble rouser, eventually came to embody the political establishment of his day.

At the same time, AJCommittee, which was originally cool to Zionism, eventually came to identify closely with Israel. And where once its membership was restricted to just 60 persons (think of it as a sort of exclusive country club for monied political activists), it is now as eager to get average Jewish Joe's to sign up as any other group.

Given the fact that the Jewish world that gave birth to these groups no longer exists, would AJCommittee be better off if it were called something else?

The answer is that, although repackaging themselves as the Jewish equivalent of "New Blue Cheer" may be tempting, whether they call themselves a committee, a convention, a conglomerate or a confederacy, the problems they face will not be altered.

Indeed, if their leaders pause and consider the success of the merger of three major national Jewish philanthropies a few years ago that resulted in the scrapping of the familiar name of "UJA"   —   and its replacement by the obscure "UJC"   —   they would not even consider it. New and snappy is nice, but change for the sake of a new marketing campaign is a poor substitute for substance or original thought.

As is often the case in the business world, consultants who use jargon such as "branding" to tell companies what to do have become a universal plague. Armed with focus groups, market surveys and polls, consultants, who usually know little about the reason the group exists, and a lot about public relations (which is to say nothing), have a way of diverting people from core issues and on to narishkeit like name changes.

Those confronted with such choices should always remember that the three worst words in the English language today are "studies have shown."

The point is, if the folks at AJCommittee are focused on the real priorities of the Jewish people today   —   and given their recent emphasis on the issues of anti-Semitism, Israel and Jewish continuity, there is reason to think they are on the right track   —   then what they need is not a new name, but to continue working on those issues.

If they are making a difference, Jewish donors will find them no matter what the name on the door says.

That's because the problem of redundancy that Bronfman talked about will eventually be solved by a form of natural selection. Those groups that serve the needs of the past, and which look to outdated ideology rather than the urgent priorities of the present, will ultimately perish just like the dinosaurs after the asteroid hit.

If AJCommittee   —   or any other denizens of the alphabet-soup bowl   —   want to survive, let them speak to the present danger facing us.

And before they change their names, they ought to take a deep breath, and then tell their consultants to run   —   not walk   —   to the nearest exit, and not let the door hit them on the way out.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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