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 23, 2007 / 9 Elul, 5767

For the love of geeks

By Suzanne Fields

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Everybody appreciates the geeks, who bear us the gifts of the technology only they understand. They know their math and science, heroes for our time. They usually won't knock you over with quotations from Shakespeare, or pause in mid-byte to drink deep from the waters of philosophy, art and music, but if the microchip is the food of love, the geek is the faithful lover.

We depend on the geek to compete in the global economy. That's the conventional wisdom, anyway. But the conventional wisdom examines only half the issue. If math and science are the roots of the future, the liberal arts are its fruit and flower. Fruit and flower are not getting the attention they deserve.

Maybe it's the post-Sputnik mentality, born when the Soviet Union launched the first man-made object to orbit in space. That was in 1957. The United States was humiliated, exposed as lacking the know-how to weave the magic. Outrage became outcry, to teach more science, more math. We quickly caught up and moved swiftly ahead, and the urge to emphasize math and science, cheating the liberal arts, lingers still.

We still suffer from the notion that art and music are for wimps, weepers and dilettantes. Despite all the art museums, all the venues for concerts the politicians have established in the nation's capital, the pols are usually still uneducated and uninterested in the arts. They may say they appreciate a liberal education, but they usually don't. They continue to throw money at the hard sciences, relegating the tasks of nurturing the soul and sensibility to those who pursue art for art's sake.

Congress and the White House should educate themselves in a report by the Thomas Fordham Institute, "Beyond the Basics: Achieving a Liberal Education for All Children." It shows how the emphasis in public school education is too much on math and reading, how teachers teach to the test. What the students learn is crucial, but what they don't learn hurts.

Teachers who feel pressure for their students to pass basic skills and standardized tests substitute "drill and kill" techniques at the expense of "problem solving" and conceptual thinking. Not only is there diminished time for art, music, languages, literature, history and civics, but the green-eyeshade men in Washington and the bean counters at City Hall allocate fewer funds for liberal arts. School counselors discourage students considering courses in the arts, literature and music.

Well-meaning policy makers, as well as business leaders more concerned with competing in the global market, stress what the bureaucrats reduce to alphabet soup, called STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. No one doubts the importance of such skills, but man cannot live on bread alone, even if he designs and builds a better oven. "In the long run, America's true competitive edge," write Chester E. Finn and Diane Ravitch, both former assistant U.S. secretaries of education, "is not its technical prowess but its creativity, its imagination, its inventiveness, its people's capacity to devise new solutions, to innovate, to invest new organizational as well as technological forms, and to eke productivity gains out of what others see as static situations."

Reading skill alone doesn't necessarily contribute to deeper understanding. "Why is it that the more we emphasize reading in the early grades the less well our children read by the time they reach grade eight?" asks Core Knowledge Foundation founder E.D. Hirsch, who hits hard at the "knowledge deficit." Writing suffers, too.

The continuing popularity of Jane Austen's novels — Hollywood can't get enough of them — seems to be an anomaly. They're popular because audiences love the eloquent language and appreciate the author's critical eye, the irony and wit that make her sentences sparkle. These works are enriched by a moral core that emerges in the content of relationships, where action is determined by character. We can hope the movies Hollywood makes will take audiences back to the written word, to delve deeper into its riches.

There's a craving among both young and old today to understand a world enriched by fine writing and the arts, an expanded appreciation for what English poet Matthew Arnold described as "knowing the best which has been thought and uttered in the world." When my father, who never got past the eighth grade, took me to Florence years ago, he sat for an hour before Michelangelo's David, overwhelmed by its power, and lamented that he had not discovered it when he was younger. It's never too late to develop an appreciation, but a head start pays great dividends.

President Bush once described education as "the great civil rights issue of our time." He's right about that. The bias against the study of the liberal arts is another prejudice we can do without.

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