PUTIN—THE OVER/UNDER 

Humans long have loved gambling. (“See that mammoth?”) So, I’m offering the over/under on a matter of great significance—Vladimir Putin’s hold on power. I’m setting a six-month window. Take under, and you think Putin will vanish between October 15, 2022 and January 14, 2023. Bet over, and you believe he’ll be through between January 15 and April…

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LONG LIVE BOTH KINGS 

Queen Elizabeth II has gone to her ancestors. King Charles III reigns. Life in Britain and the Commonwealth goes on. Sounds like Rosh Hashanah. I monitored Elizabeth’s death and the rituals leading up to, and including, her funeral. Admittedly, I didn’t watch all that much; Carolyn followed the events far more extensively. As to the…

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POTATO KUGEL AND SHARED HUMANITY 

Last weekend in Los Angeles, Carolyn and I helped our son with a project for his summer anthropology class at Pasadena Community College. It involved a beloved family recipe and offers a lesson that should be familiar to Americans but too often isn’t. Yosi had to make a short video and write up a report…

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WELCOME TO THE GRAY ZONE 

Americans hoping Ukraine can resist Vladimir Putin share a common trait with many of the most memorable characters in the Hebrew Bible. This may discomfort us. Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Miriam, David, Solomon all exhibit real flaws. (David takes Bathsheba to wife after sending her soldier-husband, Uriah the Hittite,…

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WHEN SMALL STUFF IS BIG 

A 6th-century mosaic, an ancient proverb and this week’s Torah portion all relate to a recent post, “Hopping Off the Treadmill.” They comfort me. The colorful mosaic map on the floor of the Church of St. George in Madaba, Jordan—I was there—details the Holy Land, particularly Jerusalem. Originally, it contained more than two million small…

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