What Can We Do When Bigotry Seems So Present?


What can we do to help? I have been giving talks about teaching about religion and the experience of religious minorities in America for more than a year. That question came up sporadically before the election campaigning began in earnest. Now, I get the question every time.

Like I, people I meet are worried and even frightened about the growing vitriol in our country toward people of color, immigrants, Jews and Muslims. I wrote about the hope I had before the election … Continue reading

30th High School Reunion: Why Return to a Once-Dreaded Place?

How many of us have skipped one high school reunion after another? Veteran journalist Linda K. Wertheimer skipped her 10th, 15th, 20th, and 25th, but something about her 30th is pulling her back to rural Ohio for her reunion. Why? So many reasons tug at her. Continue reading

Mel Gibson’s Latest Remark about Jews Makes Me Want to Teach My Son Well

I look at my son and want to protect him from hearing anything derogatory about his religion, but know I cannot. How should he respond to a direct insult about his faith? Do not shout back, I will urge him as he grows older. But do not take it in silence, either. Continue reading

Workshop Triggers Memory of Being Only Jew


Remembering a childhood kitchen should make a person think of food. But last night, during a writing workshop at the Brookline Booksmith, thinking of my family’s kitchen took me back to the first week of school in a new town. I was back in 1974; I was 9 years old, and my two brothers and I were the only Jews in school.

The writing instructor asked us to write down details of our childhood kitchen, then write about an event there. Yellow vinyl bar stools. My mind fixated on that … Continue reading