Blossom Road

I don’t know why I pulled over, idling, right before Christmas, two months of snow and
plowed onto the shoulder, each squat rambler aglow, a life-size baby Jesus reborn in the
DiPasquale’s front yard,
why everything looked different, the way the woods you got lost in as a kid seem small
and disappointing when you return to them older,
because I hadn’t been out of there that long, less than a year, and as far as I could tell in
the December blur,
beyond the slight expansion of the motherhouse infirmary, where the sick nuns, most of
them retired teachers,
convalesced or passed, where I’d volunteered during study hall changing bed pans and
pouring Hawaiian Punch into paper cups,
they hadn’t renovated the spired building I’d entered day after day, my plaid jumper
becoming more ironic with each curve. How selfish it is after you leave a place to doubt that it could function without you.

Rabbis Get Boxed In: Criticism of Israel at a High Price

The New York Times ran a major story when the rabbis of B’nai Jeshurun synagogue in New York City sent a note to thousands of congregants applauding the UN resolution of November 29, 2012, which admitted Palestine to the UN as an “observer state.” The story focused on the anger of some (no numbers were given) congregants who were outraged that their rabbis would take such a public stance in support of the right of Palestine to be considered a state. In contrast, the Union of Reform Judaism (the Reform Movement typically and rightly praised for its progressive stance on many other issues) denounced the vote and praised the Obama administration for voting against the UN resolution. {{{subscriber}}} [trackrt]
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More Wars for the Middle East?

I pray that voices of sanity will prevail and that, instead of trying to take out Iranian nukes, Israel will concentrate on outstretching its hands in generosity toward the Palestinian people, thereby neutralizing the one card Arab and Muslim extremists have continually used in the past decades to show that the real enemy is not poverty and ignorance, but Israel and the United States.

Faulty Wisdom in Spielberg’s Lincoln

I deeply appreciated how the movie brought to life a moment of American history that recalls the deep racism that permeated the Congress during the Civil War, and the courageous role Lincoln played in fighting for an end to slavery. Yet something very deep was missing, and that became clearer to me after reading the misguided response to the movie by David Brooks, a former editor at the right-wing Daily Standard who now makes inroads with some liberals by spouting pro–status quo wisdom from his perch at the New York Times.

The Jewish Vote 2012

Jewish Republicans predicted that Obama’s disagreements with Israeli policies would cost him heavily, but in fact most Jews did not cast their vote primarily on Israel-related issues: most Jews identified the economy and health care as their primary concerns in exit polls.

The Criminal Caste

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, Review by Ben Bloch