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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PUTINSPEAK

Americans have nothing on Vladimir Putin when it comes to perverting language. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (an act of “genius” twice accorded Putin by Donald Trump before the actual incursion), becomes entirely rational once you understand Putinspeak. Here are seven words to consider: Peace—order imposed by force of arms. A society without obedience to a…

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PUTIN’S SECRET DEMANDS 

Russia justifies massing 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine in response to NATO encroachment. But Vladimir Putin recently sent Joe Biden his real demands.   “Comrade Joe: Do not mind ‘Comrade.’ Takes me back to glorious days of Soviet Union, which all Russia wishes to return. Except way things are now, situation not bad. “Enough…

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