I feel like I’m supposed to write a kaddish for Qaddafi. And I’m having a lot of trouble doing so. What I want to do is defend him somehow. Say that he’s been maligned for decades. Tell you about the jokes Tunisians (Libya’s neighbors to the west) used to tell about Qaddafi, all the way […]
I never met Saddam Hussein. But I wanted to. We were guests, actually, of Tariq Aziz — who was Foreign Minister at the time. Little known fact: they both share a birthday (one year apart): April 28th. It was my birthday. And we had just been detained. Pulled from the Baghdad airport just as we […]
The question is do we feel sorry for Abraham, or do we say goddamn it, you knew what you were getting us into? Or is there some other way to resolve the whole bit? I’ve been thinking about this for at least a thousand years, maybe two. Maybe three. The whole situation sucks. There’s this […]
When even a Middle East expert chains them all together like that, it’s no wonder I feel overwhelmed, and my problem is embarrassingly trivial next to the problems of all those people who are trying to live through all this. And then there are all those people who are not living through all this—who are dying in all this.
A Kaddish for all of them.
Once upon a time there was a little country. It hadn’t always been a little country, but it had for the most part been an outlier in the larger scheme of things. It prided itself on being the ‘breadbasket of Rome’ but if the Punic wars had gone otherwise, Rome might have been the breadbasket […]
People say that there are a lot of reasons to open up a bible. Here’s one of them you might not have ever been asked to think about. And a reason why using the bible — especially לך לך — as a basis for validating nation-building is not a terribly good idea. We can lay […]
Jerusalem, 1961 The tzaddik, as we know, was a great collector of Judaica: manuscripts, ceremonial artifacts, and ancient pieces of junk. For him, every single fragment was precious and worthy of preserving. Each broken piece of something had matching pieces yet to be discovered. Every object had a story that had to be uncovered. If […]