A Nation Pulling Apart

From Web Exclusives

That my mother hated Jews was clear, although why she hated them was one of those shameful mysteries I doubt she could have explained had I asked her. What I heard, growing up, sounded like jealousy and resentment. As a waitress in a catering hall, she would serve at Bar Mitzvah receptions and then come home seething about the amounts of money she imagined the young guest of honor had taken in. Continue Reading »

Imagining the Path of Christian Exile

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To be ripped from our neighborhood, the ancient land we have shared, so companionably for so long, is a tragedy that must transform each of us. I have been forever changed by the experience of being marched away at gunpoint, empty-handed, my past wrested from me. They gave me two choices, leave or die. And you, too, are changed for having to quietly watch me go, or die yourselves. It is not how old neighbors should part. Continue Reading »

Mad Men Goes Meta

From Web Exclusives

Readers of a certain age may remember a television commercial about a boy, a bottle of ketchup, and a hamburger: In alternating close-ups, viewers witnessed the condiment’s slow descent and the boy’s ever-heightening expectancy, all while Carly Simon’s “Anticipation” blared seductively in the background. The ketchup poured; the burger was put to the bite: “Worth the wait,” we were told. Continue Reading »

The Acid Bath of Ingratitude

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Early last week, there was a terrible accident. A young mother, driving on icy Wyoming roads, lost control of her car, and two of her three children became lost to heaven. A photograph of the family in happier days circulated the Internet and brought a stunning sense of pain to perfect . . . . Continue Reading »

A Shepherd I Will Remain

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My little cousin and I watch as my uncle washes away the blood, and examines the wound. He is making that odd breathless noise—halfway between a gasp of surprise and a sigh of regret—that he always makes when an attack has been thwarted. My uncle, after all, is nearly forty; an old man long past the charms of making his bed upon the chill earth at night; disenchanted with stargazing while wolves in the dark distance howl, or creep in silence, just beyond our sight. . . . Continue Reading »

Francis’ School of Love: Are We Absorbing the Lessons?

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With only 266 popes named over two thousand years, the papacy is the most exclusive office on the planet, and—the occasional scoundrel notwithstanding—we Catholics have been mostly well served by our Petrine successors. Particularly during the modern era, in which invention and industry have cooperated in finding new and creative ways to spill unprecedented amounts of human blood, and ancient evils like slavery are put down in one place only to grow like intentional, pernicious viruses somewhere else, our popes have been particularly clear-eyed servants of the servants. . . . Continue Reading »

Were There Alternatives to the Affordable Care Act?

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Amid occasional stories of success (a personal friend who had previously been unable to afford health insurance can now afford a subsidized plan in California) the disastrous launch of the Affordable Care Act has revealed itself to be life-upending disaster for millions who are discovering that—thanks to the narrowest, and thus most easily negated of “Grandfathering” provisions—policy holders who liked their insurance cannot keep their insurance. If they like their doctors and hospitals, they cannot keep their doctors and hospitals, either. . . . Continue Reading »

When No One Wants to Raise the Parents

From Web Exclusives

Meandering through a social media timeline, I stumbled upon one of those “listicles” that comprise so much of our empty internet clicking. This one was about how the adorableness of children should inspire everyone to be a parent, and the images were pretty cute, but my favorite bit was textual … Continue Reading »