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

When we aren't who we think we are

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson

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What if you discovered that your whole life was a case of mistaken identity?

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It sounds like a movie. Nurses bring a newborn daughter back to her mother after bathing. The mother insists that she's been given the wrong baby. The nurses, who clearly know better, dismiss her concerns.

But 56 years later, DNA testing proves that Marjorie Angell, the real mother in this real story, was right.

Kay Rene Reed and DeeAnn Angell were both born on the third of May, 1953 in eastern Oregon's Pioneer Memorial Hospital. As babies they were switched, presumably while being given baths, and grew up to become wives, mothers, and grandmothers. Less than a year ago Kay Rene's brother discovered an old photograph of Kay Rene in middle school. Except that it wasn't a picture of Kay Rene; rather, the schoolgirl who could have been her twin was in fact the sister of DeeAnn.

Subsequent DNA testing proved what had already become obvious. Kay Rene wasn't a Reed, and DeeAnn wasn't an Angell.

"I cried," said Kay Rene. "My life wasn't my life."

Imagine waking up one morning and discovering that you were someone else. Nothing has changed, yet everything has changed. You have the same friends, the same family, the same job. But you also have another family and another past — a whole different identity about which you know nothing. A careless moment over which you had no control and an innocent mistake outside your knowledge conspired to leave you wondering how your whole life might have unfolded if not for that momentary twist of fate.

What would you do? What would you think? How would you feel?

If you have lived a happy and well-adjusted life, you'd probably wrestle with some inner confusion and then return to your friends and family. But if your life had been difficult, if you had endured an existence of hardships and traumas that had left you broken and bitter, how might you cry out against the cruelty of chance that had snatched away the happy life you might have had.

And what if, somehow, it had actually been your own fault?

The Sages teach that when a soul departs from this world, it lets out a scream that can be heard from one end of the universe to the other. Contemporary scholars have explained their meaning as follows:

Once freed from the bonds of physical existence, every soul ascends to the next world and comes before the Heavenly tribunal for judgment. Upon our arrival, each of us will witness a reenactment of his entire life on earth, as if projected upon a giant screen, with all of our good deeds and accomplishments, but also with all our carelessness and self-absorption. Recognizing the futility of excuses or apologies, we will feel the shame and remorse of a life poorly lived, with no further chance of redemption.

Simultaneously, as if on a split-screen, a different story plays out. Here we will behold the life of a tzaddik, a truly righteous and pious individual whose every thought and deed is for others and whose efforts are directed entirely toward moral and spiritual self-perfection. The contrast between the two images will be astonishing.

As the painful exercise concludes, each of us will pose a question to the court: "I recognize my own life, but who is this tzaddik that lived so perfect a life, and why was his story projected next to mine?"

"That tzaddik," the court replies, "is the person you could have been."

Will sudden clarity, the ascendant soul will understand the consequences of a life lived in pursuit of physical pleasure and material goals. Perceiving that there had resided within him the potential to become someone else altogether and, realizing that it is too late to go back and relive his life, the unfortunate soul will emit a scream that can be heard from one end of the universe to the other.

As long as we remain alive in this world, however, there is time to go back. What's past is not necessarily past, for the Creator has programmed into his universe the extraordinary capability to go back in time and reshape what has already been done. This is teshuva — repentance or, literally, return.

The Jewish concept of repentance is not mere chest-clopping and confession. Teshuva is a process of self-transformation, of changing ourselves into the kinds of individuals incapable of ever again committing our earlier transgressions and indiscretions. Through sincere self-reflection, our genuine remorse will catapult us to new levels of spiritual and moral sensitivity. By returning to the straight path the Creator laid out before us from the moment we were born, we literally re-create ourselves and severe all connection to the errors of the past.

What's done is now undone, and we have nothing to fear from the ultimate Day of Judgment. It is no longer our past that defines us. It is what we have made of ourselves, and what we do from this point forward, that will define our future.

The two women switched at birth have gotten on with their lives, and they have even become friends. Kay Rene introduces DeeAnn as her "swister."

"I'm trying to move forward and look at the positive," DeeAnn said. "You can't look back. It just drives you crazy."

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JWR contributor Rabbi Yonason Goldson teaches at Block Yeshiva High School in St. Louis, MO, where he also writes and lectures. Visit him at http://torahideals.wordpress.com .

© 2009, Rabbi Yonason Goldson