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The Simplest Jew

From the June/July 2023 Print Edition

Once upon a time, goes an old Hasidic tale, the great Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev was walking down the street when he ran into a fellow Jew. It was one of Judaism’s fast days, and yet there was Levi Yitzchak’s acquaintance, enjoying a hearty meal. “My son,” said the rabbi softly, . . . . Continue Reading »

What ChatGPT Can’t Do

From the May 2023 Print Edition

I’d forgotten nearly everything about my years in school, which, given my mild allergic ­reaction to sclerotic and coercive bureaucracies, is merciful. But one thing I do remember: a day, in fifth grade, dedicated to—the future. Carrying a copy of Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand . . . . Continue Reading »

Out of the Abyss

From the April 2023 Print Edition

One day this winter, I found myself staring into a deep, dark, menacing hole. I mean that literally: I was visiting Khor Virap, an Armenian monastery in the foothills of Mount Ararat and the site of a miracle we could all use just about now. Feeling depressed about the fate of Western civilization? . . . . Continue Reading »

We're All Jews Now

From the March 2023 Print Edition

A few weeks ago, I was having dinner with some friends in Texas. The group, to use an oft-abused term correctly, was diverse—Jews and Catholics and evangelicals, young and old, university professors and professional musicians, with little in common save for our shared belief that . . . . Continue Reading »

When Harry Met Meghan

From the February 2023 Print Edition

I have a confession to make: I can’t get enough of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Give me another teary tell-all and I’m all in. Indulge me with a made-for-reality-TV special and I’ll fetch the popcorn. Just a hint of the pair excites me, because I firmly believe that the drama of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Fun Trumps Fear

From the January 2023 Print Edition

What to make of the midterm elections? You may, if you wish, lend your ear to the ululations of our self-appointed intellectual and moral betters, who are eager to tell you that the mythical Red Wave failed to materialize because of Donald Trump, or because of Dobbs, or because of January 6th, . . . . Continue Reading »

Epic Failures

From the December 2022 Print Edition

Can you believe that Halbrand insulted Miriel, queen regent of Númenor, by saying she was either blind or an elf-lover? What about all the drama at Princess Rhaenyra and Ser Laenor’s wedding? And how excited are you to meet Radovid, King Vizimir’s dastardly playboy of a brother? If you’ve . . . . Continue Reading »

American Nightmare

From the October 2022 Print Edition

Late at night, after the dishes have all been cleared and the kids put to bed, most of my friends cast a quick, furtive look around to make sure no one’s watching, grab their phones, slide into bed, and indulge their wildest and most sensuous desires. No, they’re not looking at pornography. . . . . Continue Reading »

Pedaling to Heaven

From the Aug/Sept Issue 2022 Print Edition

The most moving spiritual experience I’ve had in the past decade didn’t take place in the pews of my synagogue. It did not involve a rabbi, or reading from the Torah, and I wasn’t wearing my yarmulke or my prayer shawl. Instead, I was hunched over on a stationary bike in the dark, sweating . . . . Continue Reading »