Blog

HOORAY FOR THE HYPHEN

By David Perlstein | February 18, 2011 |

What goes around comes around. Recently, several European leaders declared multiculturalism a failure. Europeans, who once avidly condemned America’s racial and religious shortcomings, have encountered their own challenges involving large Muslim minorities from North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. French President Nikolas Sarkozy declared on February 10, “If you come to France, you…

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POST-MUBARAK EGYPT AND TORAH

By David Perlstein | February 11, 2011 |

The king is dead, long live… Who? Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, who held the presidency for thirty years, has stepped down. The army has taken command, at least temporarily. Egyptians find themselves free. Well, that’s the theory. The reality is anyone’s guess. Omar Suleiman, Mubarak’s former security chief and vice president, expressed doubt that the revolution…

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BEYOND DEFINITION

By David Perlstein | February 4, 2011 |

Earlier this week, I did a ten-minute stand-up comedy set at San Francisco’s Purple Onion. It was open-mic night for the San Francisco Comedy College. I’d taken their five-week beginner class as part of the research for a novel I’ve just begun. My guests laughed. The rest of the crowd—a whole lot younger—did, too. Thank…

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IRAN: SO WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?

By David Perlstein | January 28, 2011 |

On January 22, six world powers (U.S., France, Germany, China, Russia and Britain) attempting to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons ended their latest attempt at negotiations. Once again, they failed. We can applaud such diplomatic efforts, but I wonder if our government and others really expect the Iranians to respond. Consider these items: •…

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THE GOVERNOR OF ALABAMA AND THE PRIEST OF MIDIAN

By David Perlstein | January 21, 2011 |

You have to open your mouth pretty wide to put your foot in it, but it can be done. The last week offered ample demonstration. Sarah Palin, denying that conservative rhetoric led to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona), condemned liberals’ “blood libel.” This medieval fantasy accused Jews of killing Christians for their blood.…

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THE END IS COMING—AGAIN

By David Perlstein | January 14, 2011 |

Bad news. The San Francisco Giants won’t repeat their World Series triumph in 2011. Then again, no other team will take their crown. Why? The world will end on May 21. So says Harold Camping of Family Worldwide Radio, a Christian ministry based in Oakland. Camping’s sure. He made computations based on Genesis 7 and…

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THE TRUE BLASPHEMERS

By David Perlstein | January 7, 2011 |

A friend disagreed with my post of 12-3-10, “Snow Globes and Islam’s Civil War.” I wrote that Islamists hate us not because of what we do—although American foreign policy has often been misguided and not infrequently brutal—but because of who we are. (I expressed extremely rare agreement with former President George W. Bush.) The January…

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TRON AND TORAH

By David Perlstein | December 31, 2010 |

The Mishnah (Oral Torah), edited around 220 CE by Rabbi Judah HaNasi (Judah the Prince), offers wisdom from Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah: Im ein kemach, ein Torah / Im ein Torah, ein kemach (Avot 3:17). Without bread (literally flour) there is no Torah and without Torah, there is no bread. Hungry people trying to survive…

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EXODUS AND THE 112TH CONGRESS

By David Perlstein | December 24, 2010 |

This week, the Torah cycle forwards to the Book of Exodus or Shemot (Names). It falls on Christmas this year, so Christians’ equation of the birth of Moses with that of Jesus may be particularly strong. But the timing is coincidental. The lunar-based Jewish calendar floats within the secular year. Thus Jewish holidays always seem…

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THE EMPEROR’S NEW OLD CLOTHES

By David Perlstein | December 17, 2010 |

The emperor is naked. Again. Now what? In Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” two weavers offer the emperor a new suit from cloth so delicate those who are stupid or foolish cannot see it. The Emperor accepts and wears his new clothes in a parade. Everyone praises his beautiful outfit. Only a…

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