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 Nov. 10, 2005 / 8 Mar-Cheshvan, 5766

What kind of legacy?

By Jonathan Tobin

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The anniversary of Rabin's murder leaves some as befuddled as the event itself

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the weeks and months before Israel's disengagement from Gaza, American Jews were bombarded with stories about how Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan was bound to set off a civil war, or at least a few incidents that would remind everyone of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

Those who sought to make the analogy inevitably invoked Rabin's death as a metaphor for the threat to Israeli democracy.

Luckily, those fears wound up being overblown, if not completely misleading. But with the 10th anniversary of Rabin's murder, it can be expected that the same sermon will be read and reread from pulpits and community lecture halls.

With each passing year, Rabin's transfiguration from general/politician into a secular saint is being solidified in Jewish culture. A lifetime of military and political achievement, as well as some mistakes, has been boiled down to that hard-boiled sabra being remembered solely as a martyr for peace.

The spot in Tel Aviv where he was shot after speaking at a peace rally is now a standard stop on any tour of Israel, much like a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial or Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Even in this age of historical revisionism, where Americans hear more about George Washington's false teeth than about him chopping down cherry trees, most of us still prefer our slain martyrs served up to us simply and without nuance.

As much as American Jews have come in recent years to appreciate more of the complications of Israeli politics, the tendency to boil down Israeli leaders to heroic images has made it hard to distinguish Rabin's legacy as distinct with the rest of Israel's premiers.

After all, if American Jews still idolize Golda Meir as if she'd never been driven from office by the scorn of the Israeli public, which still stains her tenure, how can we expect them to think clearly about Rabin and his tragic fate?

Predictably, Rabin's death has become an all-purpose metaphor for the dangers of out-of-control dissent and violent rhetoric.

Even more to the point, as has happened in Israel, Rabin's murder has come to serve here as a political hobbyhorse for certain Jewish political agendas.

Just as the death of John F. Kennedy allowed some to foolishly spin tales about what might have happened in Vietnam had he lived, so, too, does Rabin become the fulcrum upon which every possible Oslo scenario unfolds.

The fact that Kennedy helped initiate and escalate the Vietnam war didn't stop some (paging Oliver Stone!) from imagining that he would have soon repented of his folly. Rabin's passing, coming as it did just as Oslo began to unravel, allows dreamers of every political stripe to use his murder as an example of all that subsequently went wrong with Israel.

In the mythology of the Jewish left, it was Rabin's murder that cut short the peace process. According to that narrative, had he lived, Rabin would have been able to lead Israel's people to accept peace — and his strength would have ensured that the Palestinians did the right thing as well. This scenario holds Benjamin Netanyahu, who was elected prime minister six months after the murder, responsible for the deterioration in relations and the ultimate doom of Oslo.

If only Rabin had lived, peace might have prevailed, we are told.

Others believe that Rabin would have correctly read Yasser Arafat's intentions far sooner than his successors and halted the process in its tracks. In this counter-factual tale, the ever-wise Rabin would have forestalled not only the mass bloodshed of the intifada, but kept the country united in the process.

Both these scenarios are inherently flawed. Rabin was just starting to realize in the fall of 1995 that his belief in Arafat's ability to deal with the terrorists ("without a Supreme Court" to inhibit his tactics, as Rabin often said) might have been misplaced. And the "blame Bibi" theory fails to take into account the fact that he actually continued the Oslo pattern of concessions in the Hebron agreement and the Wye Plantation accord.

Those who think that Rabin would have eventually shut the process down do not take into account the pressure he would have faced to keep it going — no matter how high the number of casualties from Palestinian terror, which never really ceased, even during the height of the Oslo euphoria. Nor would it have been easy for even a strong man like Rabin to change directions regarding Oslo after he had put so much effort into changing the national conversation about peace.

As much as we should admire the life work of Yitzhak Rabin, all of the speculation about the impact his death had is an intellectual dead-end. The fate of the peace process was always in someone else's hands, not his. That person was Yasser Arafat; and if there is anything that we should have learned from the years after Rabin's murder, it is that he was always uninterested in the sort of peace advocated by Rabin.

It may be that the memory of Rabin's murder restrained some protesters against Ariel Sharon. The vitriol that was unleashed by extremists against Rabin was despicable. But blaming the huge numbers of ordinary decent Israelis who opposed the Oslo plan for the actions of one extremist was unfair, and was itself an attempt to restrain democratic dissent. Those bent on using Rabin's murder to prove the "original sin" of Oslo's critics are not promoting communal peace.

In the end, the impressive achievements — as well as the complex and often contradictory policies of Rabin — will remain for historians to pick over. As for the rest of us here, all we are left with is a stained-glass image of a martyr for peace.

As such, the date of Rabin's death has already become yet another lesson for young Diaspora Jews to learn about in Hebrew school. It may well be that future generations of Jewish children will continue to draw Yitzhak Rabin peace pictures, just as they will draw scenes of the heroic Maccabees a few weeks later.

But this kind of symbol isn't really helpful to those who wonder whether a renewed search for peace with the Palestinians will again prove as futile as Rabin's hopes for Arafat.

Still, the Rabin icon isn't a bad lesson for the kids. Nor is it one that I suspect the flinty Rabin would have minded.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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