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 Dec. 11, 2006 / 20 Kislev, 5767

Give a holiday gift to posterity

By Mitch Albom

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I have a good idea for a holiday present. You can give it to your entire family — or yourself. It's a perfect complement to that new video camera or that new stereo. It even works well with that new Cross pen. Like many good ideas, I found it right under my nose. I just finished a long book tour for a new novel. The title, "For One More Day," reflects the story; a man who magically gets one day back with someone who died — in this case, his mother.

At one point late in that day, he asks his mother to tell him the family history, how everyone was related. She resists, saying, "I've told you that stuff." But the son never listened while she was alive.

This one last time, he does.

In my travels, I have been encouraging people to have that conversation. To ask their relatives about those who came before them, where they were born, how they lived, what they looked like, their favorite expressions, the food they cooked, the jobs they held, the quarters they lived in. I have been urging people to collect those stories before it's too late, before — as happens in the book — the family history is buried in the ground.

Then one night, on a plane, going from city to city, I realized how hypocritical I was being.

Because I had never done it myself.

And so I did.

I got a video camera. I flew home. And I sat my mother and father down on a couch and said, "Let's start from the beginning. As far back as you can remember."

Donate to JWR

What followed were several hours of memories. People long since dead came alive again. Names not spoken in years were beckoned and spelled for the record. Sure, some of the history came out a little crooked. My mother would get a face wrong, or think one uncle was actually another uncle, or this one had kids and the other one didn't. But between cajoling from my father and a few choice anecdotes, we got it right.

And I found out things I never knew. I never knew that my grandfather — who died before I was born — took my mother once a week to help him wash a car he owned but couldn't park near his apartment. I never knew my great-grandmother, who didn't speak English, and was once in a courtroom with a translator.

I never realized this uncle was the brother of that aunt. I never knew relatives I thought of as close kin were only related through marriage. In short, I got a crash course in our family tree. The branches made sense. The leaves came alive. And the camera? We forgot about it five minutes after we set it up. One thing about when families talk about families. It's nearly impossible to distract them. But I am looking at the film as I write this. And I realize that before me is the 2006 version of a dusty, gold-leafed book in an attic library.

This is our history. This is who I am. So with the holidays around the corner, I can now encourage this idea not only as an author but as practitioner: Get out the camera, the tape recorder, or the yellow pad. Clear aside a few empty hours. Put out a pot of coffee — maybe a few cookies to get the brain cells going.

And collect the stories. Look. It has to be better than what most of us do with a video camera — shove it in the face of visitors and yell, "Say something funny!"

Forcing a memory into a lens is one thing. Capturing one is another.

Besides, there are few things sadder than a child asking questions about Grandpa or Aunt May and the parent wishing someone were still alive who could give the answer. We should never let that happen. We don't have to. Try this at home. It's as classic as a red necktie. As timeless as a diamond. It's the best gift I can think of: Find out who you are.

Even an Xbox can't do that.

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.

"For One More Day"  

"For One More Day" is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one? Sales help fund JWR.

Comment on Mitch's column by clicking here.

Mitch's Archives