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 August 27, 2007 / 13 Elul, 5767

Returning to a lettered life

By Tom Purcell

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I received an unexpected postcard in the mail the other day from an old friend. It made my day.

It's been a long time since I've gotten a handwritten letter from a friend — it has to be 10 or 15 years. What's worse, I can't remember the last time I wrote one.

The reasons are obvious: e-mail, text messaging and cell phones. It's so fast and easy to whip off a quick note electronically, why would anybody take an hour or more to handwrite one?

I love what technology has allowed me to do. I'm able to keep in touch with more friends than I ever could have with traditional letters. Every now and then I "Google" a long-lost friend and pull up an e-mail address and contact number. I fire off an e-mail and soon a friendship that has been dormant for 20 years or more has been resurrected.

I've made new friends this way, too. A few years ago, I made a call to an editor in a big city whom I'd never spoken with before. I called to pitch my column. We chatted for a spell and he agreed to review samples of my work.

A few weeks later he began running my column in the papers he oversees. Early on, we began swapping e-mail about the column and writing in general. One night, as I sat in a pub writing, the fellow sent me an instant text message. We chatted back and forth electronically for a while.

Well, we've been chatting this way two or three nights a week for a year and a half now. While I sit in a pub, my friend sits on his back porch in California. We chat about writing, sports, politics, family ... a million things.

This fellow is now one of my best friends. He even helped guide and edit a mystery novel I'd been struggling with (thanks to his assistance, I finally finished the thing after six years of agony).

I share details of this friendship for one reason: I never met the fellow in person. I'm not entirely sure what he looks like. We spoke on the phone only once. Our friendship has evolved entirely through electronic means.

Still, I miss getting handwritten letters in the mail.

I've kept every letter I ever received. I have boxes of them in the attic of a little rental property I own. I remember one Saturday in 2000 when I decided to move from that property to Washington, D.C. I had to organize my stuff and store what I wasn't bringing with me in the attic. It began as an unpleasant task that soured my mood.

As I sorted through years of "junk," I stumbled upon a letter I had received in 1985, a year after I graduated college. It was from a fellow I'd gone to Penn State with, who went on to become an editor in Bangor, Maine. It was written on a light-blue final-exam booklet with great wit and humor.

As I read it that Saturday in 2000, it brought me back 15 years — brought me back to exactly who I was when I was 24. I laughed out loud as I read it. As soon as I finished, I began fishing around for more letters.

I found a stack of them in pink envelopes from two girls, Bonnie and Tracey, who attended the same college as my friend Griff. He had them send me an anonymous letter once during our freshman year. A robust correspondence resulted between 1980 and 1984. As I reread those letters that Saturday in 2000, I laughed so hard tears tumbled down my face.

I spent hours that Saturday rereading the dozens of letters I'd received over the years. It was amazing to me how much living I'd done and forgotten about. A day that started off unpleasantly became one of the most uplifting Saturdays of my life.

Yeah, I like e-mail and text messages and cell phones. I like handwritten letters, too. If only we could figure out a way to embrace technological advances without tossing out the best of the old ways.

Perhaps we just need to sing:

"Why don't we sit right down and write ourselves a letter ... "

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© 2007, Tom Purcell