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Photo Negative

From the November 2023 Print Edition

It was Lisa del Giocondo who first alerted me to the perils of photography. I’ve been visiting her for years at her spacious home in the Louvre, and I have always been bemused by the ritual of her admirers approaching her, camera in hand, clicking away furiously. But this summer’s visit, my . . . . Continue Reading »

God and the Bomb

From the October 2023 Print Edition

The best movie you’ll see this year—or, if I’m being honest, this decade—is about two men having a protracted argument about God. If you merely watch the trailer, you may walk away with the erroneous impression that Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan’s magnum opus, is about the . . . . Continue Reading »

Sex in the One State

From the Aug/Sept 2023 Print Edition

The most important book you can read right now is a little (and little-known) Russian novel titled We. First published in English in 1924 by E. P. Dutton, it soon landed its author, Yevgeny Zamyatin, in trouble. An early and enthusiastic Bolshevik—he was arrested in 1905 for his . . . . Continue Reading »

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 »