I've always regarded Aaron David Miller as one of the smartest, most thoughtful U.S. peace processors. Since he left the State Department a few years back, he's been one of my favorite analysts for the simple reason that his take on the Middle East doesn't flow from hardened ideology but from long experience and a willingness to constantly reevaluate old assumptions.
Call most Middle East analysts about the crisis du jour, and you know in advance what they're going to say; calling Miller often produces interesting journalistic surprises.
It says something about me that on a Saturday evening in Jerusalem, about an hour before sunset, when I stepped outdoors to take my dog for a walk I couldn't for the life of me figure out just who all these people were and where, exactly, they were going.
And then it dawned on me: It wasn't the good townspeople of Anatevka fleeing a pogrom but rather Torah-observers, dressed in their Sabbath best, hurrying to shul to daven mincha/maariv.
My friend Laurel Snyder, editor of “Half/Life: Jew-ish Tales from Interfaith Homes” and author of numerous children’s books, has a thoughtful piece out this week on Killing The Buddha about intermarriage, divorce and the Reyes case.
Laurel who, like me, has divorced parents and is herself intermarried, explores a lot of the same issues I’ve been thinking about (some elaborated on a column to be published in next week’s Jewish Week), vis a vis how interfaith issues play out when marriages implode. In emphasizing how she advises interfaith couples to discuss their differences before they become problems, she writes
The one with the curly hair cropped short and the serious, worried face that reminds me of Jonathan Richman.
Sigh. How Jonathan Richman used to make my heart go pitter-pat during my college days when I would rush to see him in live shows and push to the front of the stage the better to see his fancy hip moves and crazy rhymes and forlorn longing.
I had several calls in the past few days expressing emotions ranging from anxiety to rage because of the Obama administration's rumored Middle East peace plan. And that made me wonder about how the other side – and J Street, in particular – will respond to the inevitable firestorm from mainstream pro-Israel groups when and if a plan is unveiled.
My daughters are hardly book-deprived.
Thanks to two older cousins who supply us with a Strand’s worth of hand-me-downs, countless bookish relatives who keep Amazon.com busy around Chanukah and birthdays, and my husband Joe’s seeming inability to walk out of a Barnes & Noble without purchasing something, our bookshelves runneth over.
Judith Shulevitz's new book, "The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time," is attracting a good bit of attention, as well it should. Blending personal experience with history, theology and philosophy, the book is both an emotionally and intellectually rewarding encounter for the reader, and the product of a highly intelligent and thoughtful writer willing to probe every angle of what the Sabbath has meant to the world.