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 Oct. 22, 2013/ 18 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774

The Mother-in-Law of All Jokes

By Lenore Skenazy

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If you ever need a punch line, here's one you always can depend on: "...my mother-in-law!" Guaranteed laugh.

Or, from me, a punch in the nose.

Fact is I love my mother-in-law and am depressed that she is ailing. But mothers-in-law are just about the only group of people you still can pick on (besides maybe Nazis) without having anyone make a peep. There's nothing politically incorrect about ragging on the mom of your spouse — or all moms of all spouses. Where's the mother-in-law lobby when you need 'em?

This group seems to have been missing for several millenniums. After all, in one of the earlier bits of writing left for us, "Satire VI," from about 2,000 years ago, the Roman author Juvenal posits that no one can be happy while his mother-in-law is still alive.

This attitude has seeped so thoroughly into our culture that one of the ways people do get happy, it seems, is by hearing jokes in which the mother-in-law is not alive. For example:

"Out of the blue, my mother-in-law told me she'd like to be cremated. I said, 'Great. Go get your coat.'"

"'My mother-in-law's an angel,' said Fred. 'You're lucky,' replied his friend Frank. 'Mine's still alive.'"

And — thanks to the comic rule of threes — here's Henny Youngman's joke, too: "I wanted to do something nice, so I bought my mother-in-law a chair. Now they won't let me plug it in."

Why are we so murderous toward these moms? The anger seems to come from the conviction that they are grasping harpies, unwilling to believe anyone is good enough for their darling daughter or (more to the point) son. Then there's also the idea that they constantly criticize their sons- or (more to the point) daughters-in-law for failing to — of all things — clean well enough.

Maybe this will change now that so many women are working and a clean house has become less of the standard by which they're judged. Or maybe this will change when I tell you the story of my friend's mother, who was always insulted when her mother-in-law came over and immediately set to scrubbing the floor and doing the dishes. "Why?" the angry daughter-in-law finally demanded one day. "Why are you doing all this?"

Her mother-in-law looked up with an expression of apology — and surprise. "It's because I have nothing else to give you."

The fact is that many mothers-in-law are giving all they can to the spouses of their children. They baby-sit. They carpool. They make a meal or float a loan, and if they're appreciated, it's because they are supposedly "different" from other mothers-in-law. It's the way people used to feel about a beloved neighbor or co-worker of a different race. "You're not like all those other (fill in the blank). You're wonderful!"

Anthropologist Margaret Mead studied the matter and famously announced that 50 percent of people in the world would like to have "at least one jungle" between them and their mother-in-law. But for the other 50 percent of us, that would mean one jungle between us and the lady who showers us with love — and sometimes cleans the shower, too. Including the gunk in the drain.

It's time to reject anti-mother-in-law-ism the way we reject racism and outrageous sexism. In fact, it probably is outrageous sexism. So take my mother-in-law joke.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Lenore Skenazy's column by clicking here.

Lenore Skenazy Archives

© 2013, Creators Syndicate