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 Week of 7 Iyar

Dedicating the new walls of Jerusalem

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The same month in which Jews commemorate Yom Yerushalayim, the day upon which the modern state of Israel regained sovereignty over Jerusalem's Western Wall, also offers us the opportunity to observe the anniversary of another event even more significant in the history of that great city.

Two years after the first celebration of the Purim festival in the year 3405, the Persian king Achashverosh died, leaving his throne to his young son, Darius. Although he considered himself a Persian, Darius inherited from his mother, the Jewish Queen Esther, a great benevolence toward the Jews. In 3408, the second year of his reign, Darius not only gave permission to the Jews to rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem but helped finance the project, sent building materials, and threatened the governor in Samaria that he would deal most harshly with any interference.

Under the direction of Zerubavel, the prince of Yehudah, together with the prophets Chaggai and Zechariah, Jewish workers completed the second Temple in the year 3412. On the third day of the Hebrew month of Adar, the Jews in Israel inaugurated the new Temple amidst great rejoicing, bringing peace offerings of 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 sheep, in addition to 12 goats as sin offerings for each of the tribes of Israel.

At the time Zerubavel and the other leaders returned to rebuild the Temple, one of the greatest Jewish sages, Ezra the Scribe, had remained in Babylon to assist his rabbi, Baruch ben Neriyahu. When Baruch died the year following the completion of the Temple, however, Ezra traveled to join his colleagues in Israel. What Ezra found there distressed him so profoundly that he ripped his garments and tore out his hair.

Although Zerubavel and his colleagues had succeeded in organizing the people to rebuild the Temple, they were not successful in turning the mostly impoverished, fractious, and disaffected Jews back to Torah observance. Many prominent Jews, including sons of the High Priest himself, had become indifferent to Jewish tradition and practice.

Where the leaders who preceded him had proven unable to form any strategy, Ezra took immediate action, declaring a fast, calling a public assembly, and exhorting the people with such passion that, with only minimal resistance, the Jewish populous proclaimed their loyalty to G-d, confessed their transgressions, and committed themselves to renewing the holy covenant of the Jewish nation.

Rather than castigating the people for their transgressions, which might well have driven them even farther away, it was the genius of Ezra to arouse their sense of shame and their desire to return to the path of Godliness. By expressing and displaying his own personal grief at how far the people had descended, by declaring the urgency with which they must distance themselves from their sins, Ezra brought about repentance on a national scale.

Despite the impressiveness of Ezra's success reversing so much of the damage of decades after only a few months, enormous obstacles remained to a Jewish renaissance in Israel. The people were for the most part uneducated, and the fire of Ezra's exhortation could not ignite an entire country to devote itself to the slow and arduous task of reestablishing the foundations of Jewish scholarship and literacy. The people remained poor and uneducated, the internal danger from dissenters and the external danger from hostile Samaritans remained a threat, and Jerusalem remained a sparsely settled ruin.

Ezra had labored to solve these problems, but the tide only turned when, after a decade, he was joined by the prophet Nechemiah in the year 3418. One of Darius's most influential advisors, Nechemiah succeeded in gaining permission to join Ezra after he received a deeply distressing letter describing the state of affairs in his homeland. Nechemiah arrived to find the walls of Jerusalem still torn down from the Babylonian invasion almost a century earlier and the gates of the city still charred and ashen. He recognized that as long as Jerusalem stood in ruins, the Jewish people would continue to see it as a reminder of their shame and their degradation. Only by restoring the city to a portion of its former glory could the people rouse themselves from the mindset they were still an exiled and vanquished nation.

Nechemiah swiftly organized a labor force and directed it toward the reconstruction of the walls surrounding the Jewish capitol city . Led by an apostate named Sanvalat HaChoroni, the enemies of the Jews first tried to demoralize Nechemiah's workers, mocking their efforts by calling out to them that the job was too great, that even if they could rebuild the walls their construction would crumble the instant that even a fox ran upon it. When they saw that the workers were nearing completion despite their taunts, Sanvalat's company conspired to attack the workers and tear down the walls themselves, but Nechemiah learned of their plan and stationed guards with bows and spears to protect the city. Having lost the element of surprise, Sanvalat attempted to lure Nechemiah to a meeting where he could be assassinated, but this plan also failed.

Neither Nechemiah nor any of his workers allowed themselves the luxury of changing their clothes or bathing during this project, and in only 52 days they completed work on the walls that had laid in crumbled ruins for 90 years, dedicating their completed project on the 7th day of the month of Iyar. The Samaritans and the surrounding gentile nations looked upon the Jews of Israel with a new awe, giving the Jews themselves a much needed sense of their own power and potential.

But it was not only enemies from without that caused trouble for the Jews. The few Jews who had acquired wealth and prestige for themselves had used their good fortune to make loans to their poorer brethren, loans whose value were recovered first from the fields and properties of the borrowers and then by indenturing their sons and daughters into personal service.

When Nechemiah learned of this he gathered the wealthy Jews and publicly berated them, asking them sarcastically if their next step would be to sell their poor brothers as slaves to the gentiles. So stinging was Nechemiah's rebuke that the wealthy Jews promptly forgave the loans and returned the children to the parents and the properties to their owners. By thus restoring a new measure of security and economic stability to the Land of Israel, Nechemiah set the restoration of the Second Commonwealth of the Jewish nation on a secure course into the future.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Yonason Goldson teaches at Block Yeshiva High School in St. Louis. Comment by clicking here.

© 2006, Rabbi Yonason Goldson