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 June 7, 2005 / 29 Iyar, 5765

Is there really gold in them thar living rooms?

By Mitch Albom

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Everyone I know is getting rich.

They are not actually making money. No one is raising their salary. But everyone I know is getting rich — as long as they own a home.

Their kitchen is earning big bucks. Their deck is raking it in. Their driveway should be renamed "Easy Street."

Once upon a time, prospectors cried, "There's gold in them thar hills!" Today, there's gold in them thar living rooms and master suites.

In a rise that has experts befuddled and banks overjoyed, people keep buying houses in America, even though the price of those houses goes up and up. That, it seems, is part of the appeal. You buy now, you sell soon. You get more money with each new sale, and you upgrade with each new buy.

How many times in the last few years have you heard a friend say, "We bought our place for (fill in a price) and in six months it's worth (fill in a price)!"

It's the new American mantra. You want to start a cocktail party conversation? Just utter the words, "Did you hear what so-and-so got for his house? . . . ."


The problem is, like any hot air balloon, when too many people jump in the basket, it soon comes crashing down. No one wants to hear this. Despite a stock market collapse a few years ago that mimicked this very behavior, people insist they are safe with a home. It is not a stock. It is not some piece of paper. There is no Kenneth Lay from Enron doing dastardly things with your walk-in closet.

Americans think if you can see it or touch it, then value is ensured. A house can't go belly-up like a company, right?

Wrong. What homeowners fail to accept — or simply don't want to — is that a house is worth only what someone actually will pay for it. Not what a neighbor got. Not what a statistic shows. What someone will shell out of his pocket.

You know, "real" money?

That's a downer. People would rather pull up charts that show a 40 percent increase in home prices last year in California's Orange County. Forty percent! You buy a place for $100,000, you can get $140,000 a year later! (This assumes you are not on a hillside in Laguna Beach, where houses last week collapsed in mud slides. Those places, I imagine, will only be worth 20 percent more than last year.)'


Have you seen those commercials claiming you can go on vacation thanks to your living room, or buy a new car thanks to your den? They are part of this same silly cycle that says since your house is, on paper, worth more now, you can borrow against that and buy everything you want.

But once you own the car or the boat you are on the hook for that money. And if the value of your house drops enough, your collateral against the loan is gone.

Which is the Judgment Day no one wants to know about. Warning signs are everywhere. Mortgage rates are staying low while other interest rates are inching higher.

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Even Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has called interest rate behavior "a conundrum."

And if he's confused, I'm scared.

At some point, everyone else will be, too. There are only so many buyers with only so much money. It's not like jobs or businesses are in a boom mode, is it?

And once the big, expensive house has to lower its price to sell, the ones behind it will get frightened. People will dump the way they did with stocks, and many will be left holding the bag. Remember, buying doesn't make you rich, selling does. And selling requires customers. Always has.

So the next time someone says, "We bought our place six months ago and today it's worth (fill in price)," ask this question: "Really? Do you have a check in that amount?"

Because if they don't, it's still a risk. The risk is gravity; what goes up comes down. And gravity, I'm afraid, is every bit as real as a breakfast nook.

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