In nearly a year on staff at this magazine, there is one lesson that this left-leaning Jew has learned above all others: tolerance. I now work among men and women I respect for their talents, their ideals, and their views, even though—on that last point—we disagree vehemently, and often. We all arrived at this office in New York’s Flatiron district from different worlds and diverse faiths. Yet with the shared purpose of putting out a magazine that examines religion and public life, we find ourselves in constant search for common ground.

That is why I know I can say here, this morning, that I strongly support the construction of a planned Muslim mosque near Ground Zero. To me, it will stand for the one thing I’ve added most to my repertoire of emotions in this office: understanding. I don’t see the Mosque as a threat, or as an enemy, or as a symbol of anything other than the liberties allowed all of us to believe what we want. It thrills me to come to work each day at a magazine where those rights are celebrated as integral to this country’s fabric—along with the right to bear arms, the right to a free press, and the right to vote.

I lived in New York City through the horror of 9/11, and still await—along with all of us—the construction of a proper memorial to those who died there. But for the time being, I’ll take the right of this mosque to be built as a necessary reminder that the religious freedoms those victims died for remain intact. I’m glad the experience of working at First Things has given me a fresh education in tolerance, and—in the appreciation of those who don’t share my beliefs—the chance to make up for lost time.

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