What Makes Us Equal

After the 2016 election, when white working-class voters turned out for Donald Trump, the New York Times and the Washington Post sent their reporters to the hinterlands of Pennsylvania and West Virginia to see just what had happened. And off they went, like D.C. commuters sent . . . . Continue Reading »

Permission to Kill

Our first reaction is a benumbed sadness. Seventeen dead in a Florida school, shot by a disturbed young man. Then we search for explanations. The killer suffers from mental illness. Like so many others, he is from a broken home. Guns are too readily available. The media frenzy makes the shooter into . . . . Continue Reading »

BDS Has Failed

I am a rabbi who is often asked how to improve Christian relations with Jews. I’m grateful that so many are concerned with continuing the positive changes of the recent generation. But I also follow the ups and downs of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which since 2004, . . . . Continue Reading »

Job’s Children

In S. Y. Agnon’s 1939 novel A Guest for the Night, one of the protagonists, Daniel Bach, recounts his loss of faith. Throughout World War I, as a soldier in the trenches, he had been meticulous about donning his tefillin to recite his daily prayers. Until one morning, the tefillin . . . . Continue Reading »

Jordan Peterson, Unlikely Guru

With a bestselling book, 850,000 followers on YouTube, and $60,000 a month in direct contributions from fans, Jordan Peterson has every material reason to be happy. But watch one of the lectures or interviews that have made him famous, and you will see a face full of sorrow. He talks about . . . . Continue Reading »

The Prophetic Power of Humanae Vitae

One recurring theme in Pope Francis’s teaching is that human realities trump scholarly abstractions: “La realidad es superior a la idea.” His signature phrase about pastors who have the “smell of the sheep” is the folk version of this maxim. Cautions about “rigidity,” “empty . . . . Continue Reading »

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

It is early still, and dark. Next to me my sister sleeps, but I wake with the sound of my father preparing for work. He is soft, so as not to disturb my mother. The window stirs, a ripple of white on the room. Then—there’s light on my eyes, morning light, and the sound of my father’s . . . . Continue Reading »

A Church in Doubt

To Change the Church:  Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism by ross douthat simon and schuster, 256 pages, $26 It is beyond question that the Roman Catholic Church is currently in the throes of one of the greatest crises in its two-millennium history. In human terms, its future might be . . . . Continue Reading »