I have a standard regimen every time I prepare to travel to Israel, about every year and a half. Buy some shekels. Arrange my interviews. Make sure my passport hasn’t expired.
And one non-standard step: I pull out a three-decades-old, tearing-at-the-edges, 20-page reprint of a series of stories written for the Philadelphia Inquirer in the wake of the start of the Camp David Middle East peace process.
I recently started reading Eric Foner’s “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery,” which won a Pulitzer this year. It’s a subtle yet fast-moving narrative about Lincoln’s evolution from a man merely averse to slavery to the one who would abolish the institution forever in America. Slavery in America is inexhaustible topic for historians, but a subject harder to come by is Jews in America, at least before the late 19th century.