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 6, 2005 / 28 Iyar, 5765

Searching for accurate information in sex education

By Diana West

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last month, a federal judge found the Montgomery County School Board's sex-education pilot plan in Maryland so flagrantly in violation of the First Amendment that he had to hand down a restraining order. (Either that or hand in his gavel forever.) With the sex-ed plan's legal route blocked, the school board ditched the whole idea for now, along with the citizens committee that waved it through in the first place, despite plenty of flapping red flags.

OK, there were two really big red flags. Judge Alexander Williams Jr. called one "viewpoint discrimination" because, as he wrote, the new curriculum for 10th graders was supposed to teach that "homosexuality is a natural and morally correct lifestyle — to the exclusion of other perspectives." Also outrageous was the way the curriculum promoted certain religions to the exclusion of others. In touting "the moral rightness of the homosexual lifestyle," the judge wrote, the curriculum suggested that "the Baptist Church's position on homosexuality is theologically flawed," and reminiscent of the racial prejudice of the segregation era. At the same time, the curriculum applauded Reform Jews, Unitarians and Quakers for promoting an activist homosexual political agenda. If you're wondering when religious prejudice or favoritism became a subject fit for the public schools to preach — I mean, teach — the answer is never. And that's what the court ruled.

But imagine if the school board had been smart enough to reel in those First Amendment red flags on which this particular sex-ed course was hung out to dry. Would Montgomery County teens be sitting down to become both "informed" and desensitized by the course's instructional video on how to apply a condom to a cucumber? Would these kids be reflecting on their curriculum's no doubt scholarly treatment of all manner of sexual experimentation? In this hyper-sexualized culture of ours, I'm afraid the answer has to be yes.

But kudos to the parents in Montgomery County who banded together to stop this sex-ed train on its way out of the station. After it retools, the same basic train will undoubtedly chug away in the fall. My question is, do we like where it's going, and, if not, how do we get off?

It's a track we've been stuck on for a long time — since 1930, in fact, when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals "forever changed the course of obscenity law," writes Rochelle Gurstein in her illuminating book "The Repeal of Reticence" (Hill and Wang, 1998). It was then, in an acclaimed case, that the court ruled that sex-education material could no longer be considered illicit. According to Judge Augustus Hand, "accurate information, rather than mystery and curiosity, is better in the long view and is less likely to occasion lascivious thoughts than ignorance and anxiety."

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But, as Gurstein points out, "accurate information" did more than remedy "ignorance and anxiety." After all, she explains, "ignorance and anxiety" were only part of the human condition. "Equally important," she writes, "were considerations of the inherent fragility of intimate life, the tone of public conversation, standards of taste and morality, and reverence owed to mysteries. These defining characteristics of the reticent sensibility had been lost."

"Lost" isn't the word. Something more forceful (pulverized? mutilated?) is in order to describe the, well, fallen condition of a world in which — just to take a random example — a new Simon & Schuster teen title, "Rainbow Party," that recounts a tale of an oral group sex party for the "young adult" set. (Thanks, Bill Clinton.) I'm both happy and resentful to report that so-called rainbow parties — reportedly a real-life trend — are a new one on me: happy that I've lived multiple decades without an inkling; resentful that I'm now and forever stuck with the knowledge. Who needs it?

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More important — what does making such berserk sexual adventurism a mass-cultural commonplace do to the individual human psyche? Are we better off so limitlessly coarsened? Are our children? Certainly, the publishing industry is better off. According to The New York Times, publisher Judith Regan, among others, has capitalized on sex-in-the-citified sensibilities to inaugurate a "growing and increasingly racy genre of how-to sex books ... extolling the excitement that could come from oral sex, anal sex, fetishism and S&M."

So glad to hear what now constitutes "racy." What we really need, though, are some new definitions of pornographic, obscene, lewd — categories the courts told us decades ago don't really exist. I think they do. And I think we've wallowed in them long enough.

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JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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