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 April 3, 2006 / 5 Nissan, 5766

Letter to a mentsh-in-training

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | My beloved Caleb,

There was an awful story in the paper a few days ago.

"A 16-year-old Brighton High School student," it began, "has been charged with slashing a 14-year-old girl's face with a razor blade in a Dorchester park, leaving a gash that required more than 100 stitches to close." The story was on the front page of the metro section, along with a large photograph of the 14-year-old. Her face is now disfigured by an angry red scar stretching from her forehead to her lip. She said that she and some of her friends had been challenged to a fight by another group of girls, and had been told that if they didn't show up, the other girls would find them and beat them on the street.

I made a point of showing you that story so we could talk about it. I asked you to imagine what it must be like to attend the schools these girls go to, or to have to worry about the things that must constantly be on their minds. The story quoted the 14-year-old as saying she "believes girls in the city these days must assemble a cadre of friends at a young age to back them up or risk getting more seriously injured or even killed. And she fears being labeled a snitch for identifying the girl who slashed her face."

Such violence and intimidation are far removed from anything you've ever experienced, Caleb. But you are no longer too young to know that many other children are not so fortunate — including some in your own backyard. When we talked about that news story, I told you that safety is one of the reasons Mama and I send you to the Hebrew Academy — a religious day school — instead of public school. You've never seen a fistfight, never mind a gang brawl with razor blades. When you first read the story, you weren't even sure what a razor blade was.

But it isn't metal detectors or security guards that makes your school safe. It isn't a zero-tolerance policy on weapons, or penalties for fighting. It's an emphasis on values and character that began on the first day of school, and that your teachers and parents treat as no less important than academics. As a 3-year-old, you would come home from nursery singing songs based on the Bible stories you were learning — Abraham's hospitality, Rebecca's kindness to strangers. Now as a 9-year-old, you come home with monthly "midos sheets" meant to reinforce good character — midos (or midot) is Hebrew for character traits — by having one of your parents initial the page each time you demonstrate the particular virtue being emphasized that month: cheerfulness, gratitude, kindness to others.

Does emphasizing character in this way ensure that you'll never be involved in violent or criminal deeds? Will it guarantee that you never treat another person with cruelty or malice? Can your teachers or your parents know for a fact that you'll never slash anyone's face with a razor? Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. How you turn out will depend, ultimately, on how you choose to live. The most your parents and teachers can do is equip you to make the right choice.

So we work at it, always keeping an eye out for ways to reinforce the better angels of your nature. When you brought home your report card in December, I wasn't thrilled with the grades you had gotten in behavior, self-control, and respect for teachers and peers. Which is why I offered you an incentive: If on your next report card all your behavior marks went up, you would be rewarded with one of the I Spy books you like so much. Three weeks ago your second report card came home, and what do you know? Your conduct and character had improved across the board. Way to go!

Of course Mama and I care about your progress in English and science and religious studies, too. Sure, we want you to grow up to be good at math. But it's even more important that you grow up to be a mentsh.

It's a message I try to reinforce whenever I can. After every meal, I tell you constantly, make sure to thank the person who prepared it — and that includes the "kitchen ladies" at school. When you play with your brother, you're not allowed to torment him — kindness and courtesy aren't only for outsiders. "Make us proud of you," I say each morning when I drop you off at school — a daily reminder that while your parents' love is automatic, their admiration is something you must earn.

At 9, you're off to a great start, Caleb — bright, energetic, inquisitive, articulate. Who knows what great things await you?

Just remember: Whatever else you grow up to be, make sure to be a mentsh.

All my love,

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Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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