In roughly 30 years as a professional writer, Linda has written hundreds of articles. Below are recently published stories and favorite projects. Please contact Linda if you’d like to see more writing samples. Some older narrative projects cannot be posted because of copyright issues.
ARTICLES RELATED TO FAITH ED
This new section includes articles stemming from my book, Faith Ed, Teaching About Religion In An Age of Intolerance.
Why It Matters When A Town Rallies Against Hate: Reports of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic acts are rampant across the country. But what it is like when it happens in your town and you faced an act of hate in the past? Perspective essay for the Boston Globe Magazine. July 23, 2017
Meeting The World Around My Mother’s Table: Essay for Wbur’s Cognoscenti on how my experiences meeting people from around the world opened my mind to different cultures, religions. April 11, 2017
Mother’s fight to stop Bible class resurrects troubled history with schools, religion: Commentary for Religion News Service on a West Virginia conflict over preachy Bible classes in public schools. A mother, with the help of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, sues a small West Virginia school system over its Bible classes, taught by lay people. It’s clear the classes, offered in elementary schools, are preachy, yet the community has heated debate. March 24, 2017
Volunteering as ‘Hanukkah’ parents lets schools off the hook: Commentary on WBUR’s Cognoscenti about why there are better ways to teach about different religions than using parent volunteers. Dec. 21, 2016
Tips for Teachers on World Religions Instruction: A Time magazine commentary on ways teachers can teach about the world religions and avoid controversy. September 30, 2016
How to reduce religious bigotry: Teach about religions in school. Op-ed in The Dallas Morning News about examples of classes on religion helping students become more open, understanding of different faiths. April 15, 2016 (online; published in print 4/18)
Trending: #MyMuslimNeighborhood – Patrolling Bigotry, and a Dangerous Idea. Commentary on WBUR’s Cognoscenti about presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s idea of patrolling Muslim neighborhoods. March 24, 2016
Why kids must learn about religion much earlier. Time magazine op-ed weighing in on recent anti-Semitic incidents and the need to start educating about religion at an early age. March 18, 2016
Feel like Americans are ignorant about religion? Do your part to fix things. Commentary in The Washington Post‘s Acts of Faith section about how visiting houses of worship, other actions can educate adults more about different religions. March 9, 2016
Defeating Hate. Story in The Islamic Monthly magazine examining whether teaching about religion can reduce ignorance – and hate. March 4, 2016.
Why teachers should not ask students to try on the hijab. Religion News Service commentary on growing practice of wear-a-hijab day in public schools. Feb. 9, 2016
Indoctrination is Not the Real Issue in Public School Lessons on Islam. Religion News Service commentary written in the aftermath of a controversy in Virginia over a calligraphy exercise. Jan. 14, 2016
How Schools Overlook Religious Harassment. Religion News Service commentary on bullying of religious minorities and what can be done to confront it. Jan. 8, 2016
Educate, don’t celebrate when it comes to holidays in public schools. USA Today op-ed on how Christmas doesn’t have to be controversial in schools – if teachers teach about religions rather than try to celebrate their holidays. Dec. 20, 2015
Teaching about religion in schools can be risky, but worth it. An op-ed in The Washington Post’s Acts of Faith section after a controversy over having students write a Muslim prayer in calligraphy. Dec. 18, 2015
The Hanukkah Ham and Other Morsels of Religious Ignorance. A gaffe at a local Whole Foods prompted me to write this piece about stores’ occasional ignorance about religions in displays. WBUR’s Cognoscenti. Dec. 10, 2015
Venti Ado About Nothing? How far should businesses go to show diversity during the holidays? I say my piece in WBUR’s Cognoscenti. Nov. 13, 2015
Why You Shouldn’t Defend a Praying Coach. This op-ed in The Washington Post’s Acts of Faith section takes issue with a high school football coach who prayed in the middle of the field before his time. Oct. 29, 2015
Our Children Need to Learn about Islam. This op-ed ran online in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Oct. 2, 2015, and was to appear in print editions on Oct. 12. Some parents in an Atlanta-area town complained about lessons on Islam, a common refrain around the country. This gives my take.
Ahmed Mohamed and the Problem of Religious Intolerance In Our Schools. Summary: This op-ed, published on WBUR’s Cognoscenti opinion section on Sept. 25, 2015, shows who the story of Ahmed Mohamed reminded me of the Muslim youths I met around the country while reporting on my book.
Our school’s Rosh Hashanah Gift: The Day Off. Summary: This op-ed, published on WBUR’s Learning Lab website on Sept. 11, 2015, describes the positive effect of a school system giving religious holidays off for minorities, but also covers the complexity, given no schools could give all holidays off.
Public schools should not preach but they can teach about religion. Summary: This Sept. 8, 2015, op-ed in The Washington Post uses material and reporting from Faith Ed. to make the case why it’s so important for schools to do more to teach about religion.
New Clash over Religion in Schools: Communities Face Backlash for Lessons on Islam. This piece, published Aug. 25, 2015, on religionandpolitics.org covers a reoccurring theme in Faith Ed., how lessons on Islam often led to controversy. It drew more than 6,000 likes on Facebook and heated debate in the comments section.
Not In Our Town: How A String Of Swastikas And Other Vile Graffiti Actually Made A Community Stronger: Summary: This Aug. 9, 2015, Boston Globe Magazine cover story stems from a sliver of my prologue of Faith Ed, a look at how a string of anti-Semitic incidents roiled the tiny town of Bedford and brought it closer together.
7 Reasons We Should Teach More Religion in Public Schools. My thoughts, published on Aug. 19, 2015, on why we should teach more about religion in public schools for On Faith, a blog about
5 Ways to Teach Religion to Kids. An Aug. 17, 2015, post on the Patheos Natural Wonderers blog giving tips to parents on how to teach about the world’s religions to your children, whether you ascribe to a religion or not.
5 Ways to Avoid Controversy When Teaching about Religion. My post on Beliefnet, published in Aug. 2015, about ways teachers can avoid controversy when they’re teaching about religion.
Ten Best Practices for Writing about Religion.. Tips on religion writing in The Writer magazine. June 2015.
Calling Out Her Name: Lilith Magazine published my essay on healing, prayer and my mother’s struggle with Parkinson’s Disease in its Summer 2017 issue.
Considering the Meaning of Community. The outpouring of sympathy from the Jewish and Muslim community after 18-year-old Ezra Schwartz was killed by a Palestinian attacker in Israel led to this personal essay about grief and community in Cognoscenti. Nov. 25, 2015
“Modim” – Summary: Tiferet, a spiritual literary journal, published an essay of mine, Modim, in its Fall 2014 issue. This essay stems partly from my yet-to-be-published memoir about losing my brother and finding faith and partly from my experiences with post-partum depression.
Son Teaches Mom How to Be a Jew at Christmas– Summary: The New York Times Motherlode blog posted an essay of mine on Dec. 7, 2012, about a common dilemma for Jewish parents or parents of any children who are not in the Christian majority. How do we teach our children to be proud of their religious identity and customs, yet still respect the traditions of […]
Naming a Son for a Brother Who Died Young– Summary: Choosing a name for our unborn son stirred up the past for my husband and me. I wrote an essay about that struggle for The New York Times Motherlode blog. The piece was published on July 29, 2012, and stems partly from a chapter in the memoir I’m writing about journeying through grief and […]
Yearning to Hear My Brother’s Voice– Summary: The Boston Globe Magazine on May 27, 2012, published my essay about how it was so hard to remember my brother’s voice, though I could remember so much more. musings about whether to keep or toss my Mel Gibson DVDS, given the actor’s continued anti-Semitic rants. It ran as a Connections column. Reaction: The […]
Best Feeling in the World: Readers Write, The Sun– How would you describe the ‘best feeling in the world?” Read my answer, published in The Sun magazine in April 2012.
Jew Girl– Veteran journalist Linda K. Wertheimer, who’s writing a memoir about the loss of her brother and her journey closer to faith, chronicles how being the only Jews in public school bonded her and her brother closer in this excerpt. It was published in March 2012 in Tiferet Journal’s Fifth Bridge edition, a collection of winning essays from the publication’s 2011 contest.
A Jewish Mom’s Dilemma: Does Hanukkah Have to Compete with Christmas?– Summary: I’m not the first Jewish parent to face this conundrum. How do I make sure that my young son’s fascination with the Christmas spectacle doesn’t diminish his enthusiasm for his family’s religion? In a Dec. 18, 2011 column for The Boston Globe Magazine, I write about dealing with this dilemma and attempting to keep […]
What’s a Fan to Do When a Star Acts Badly?– Mel Gibson was at it again recently and reportedly lobbed anti-Semitic slurs at a colleague and made an awful joke. My quandary: I like Mel’s movies and own three. Should I keep or toss them? My musings ran in The Boston Globe magazine’s Perspective section.
Make Hanukkah about the Gifts that Count– Summary: How can we make Hanukkah more about a celebration than about a shopping frenzy? In a November 2010 article for The Jewish Advocate, I described my family’s attempt to downplay gifts in favor of togetherness and celebration. To read the article, published in The Jewish Advocate, click here.
Do we compete with Christmas too much at Hanukkah? – Summary: Should we downplay gifts at Hanukkah? Four rabbis from the Boston-area weigh in on Hanukkah and the role gifts should or should not play in my November 2010 article for The Jewish Advocate. To read the article, published in The Jewish Advocate, click here
Deciding that One Child is Enough– Summary: A baby boom was on in my son’s day-care, and a neighbor came over with the news that she was expecting her third child. Simon began to wonder when his baby brother or sister was coming. I wrote about my family’s decision to have one child in an article for Kveller.com, a New York-based […]
Make Way for Blue Ducklings– Summary: For Mother’s Day 2011, I had an ideal of how everything would play out. Simon and I would make a bright yellow duckling costume with yellow wings. Simon had other ideas and taught me a lot about motherhood as a result. I wrote about the experience in an essay for Kveller.com, a New York-based […]
Don’t Call Me Grandma– Summary: In a tongue-in-cheek piece, I respond to getting called Grandma when I’m out and about with my 3-year-old. I wrote this for Kveller.com, a national Jewish parenting website. Read the article.
No synagogues, please: Groups woo families in cafes, My Gyms – Summary: Jewish organizations around the nation are trying to woo young families through meet-ups, activities outside of shuls. My article for The Forward, a national Jewish weekly newspaper, ran online on Dec. 22, 2010, and ran in print editions on Dec. 31, 2010. Read the article.
Judaism, by baby steps– My 4-month-old baby boy nestled in my arms, I walked into the sanctuary hoping to discreetly slip back into a seat by my husband. “Simon,” Rabbi Howard Jaffe called out in his booming voice. “Come join us.” It was time for the Aleinu prayer, and our temple’s tradition was to invite children to participate and […]<
(Note: Faith Ed. related articles are mostly above in a separate category.)
Teaching about the ‘Alt-Right’: Summary: In the 2016-17 school year, I was shadowing a pair of Brookline High School teachers for a longer project on their class about race. Over a few classes, they taught about the ‘alt-right movement’ and how it has become better known due to the 2016 election of Donald Trump. But how common is it to teach such a controversial topic? My April 4, 2017, story in the Atlantic looks at how it is taught and who is willing to teach it.
Students and the Middle East Conflict: Summary: A look at how Tufts University is trying to respond to tension over the Middle East on its campus. This story ran in Education Life, a New York Times education section. Aug. 3, 2016
Why Black Lives Matter Belongs On Lesson Plans Summary: How can teachers teach about race in today’s tumultuous times? This Boston Globe Magazine article examines what some teachers are doing to engage students in dialogue about race and educate them about racial turmoil of past and present.
AP Classes: A Problem for Massachusetts High Schoolers?– Summary: I wrote a piece for the Oct. 7, 2012, Boston Globe magazine about the rise in enrollment in Advanced Placement classes and how that has led to a troubling trend in competitive high schools. The highest-achieving students compete to see just how many AP classes they can pack into their schedule, a move they […]
Dynamic New Leader Puts Oomph Back in Brandeis – Summary: To many students and faculty, new Brandeis President Fred Lawrence has practically achieved rock star status. A former dean of The George Washington University Law School, he became president in January 2011 of a university that had been hamstrung by financial difficulties and embroiled in controversy. My article about Lawrence and the challenges he […]
A Test of Faith: One School’s Determination to Stand by Its Religion Curriculum– Summary: During the latter half of the 2010-11 school year, I shadowed a sixth-grade Wellesley Middle School class as students learned about world religions. The class had been under scrutiny because of a past field trip to a mosque, where a handful of boys ended up praying. Click on the link below to read my […]
Little Kids, Big Problems– Summary: Educators, lawmakers, parents, and others are trying to do more to help rather than punish preschoolers with the most extreme behaviors. The goal: Prevent expulsions from preschools and day-cares and make life easier for both parent and child. Read the article To hear more on the topic: Listen to interviews I did on two […]
School has sanctuary for troubled teens – Summary: Hannah Cummins opened her life and heart up to me for this Boston Globe article about her depression and how a program at Brookline High School helped her make a good comeback. Read the article Reaction: The story provoked many comments on Boston.com and in my email box. Most readers were supportive and lauded […]
ARTICLES ABOUT WRITING
Perfecting the Art of Slowness (An Essay on the Writing Life)– Summary: Music has shaped so much of what I’ve become as a writer, and I write a riff on how music has influenced my writing in recent years for the Off the Cuff feature in the December 2011 issue of The Writer . Read the article.
Interview with Dani Shapiro for Writer magazine – Summary: Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion, a memoir about her journey toward faith, talks about what inspires her as a writer in an interview I conducted with her for the February 2011 issue of The Writer . Read the article.
Editing job improved my writing – Summary: Spending three years as an assistant city editor at The Boston Globe taught me valuable lessons as a writer. Read my Off the Cuff column in the July 2010 issue of The Writer about the lessons I put into practice. Read the article.
Novelist’s gift is priceless: retreat for writers– Summary: In search of space and time to work on my memoir, I spent two weeks at novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard’s writer’s retreat on Cape Cod. I wrote about the program in the January 2010 issue of The Writer magazine.
Author shows me Cape Cod through her eyes
Summary: In Brewster on the Cape for two weeks for a writing retreat, I fell in love with bucolic town and discovered books set there by novelist Sally Gunning. The author gave me a tour — and this travel piece was the result.