Seeing The World As It Is

The Death of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram“My religious commitment: to stay in conversation with Jewish stories.” That’s Nancy Fuchs Kreimer in “The Face under the Huppah: Relating to My Closest Stranger.” The essay is a meditation inspired by a drive with her husband from Philadelphia to Boston. Near the beginning of the drive, Fuchs Kreimer and her husband get stuck in a familiar conflict: a disagreement over whose proposed route is best: hers that is shortest, his that sometimes involves less traffic. They’ve been here before: on this highway, on this trip, caught in this disagreement whose stakes to them seem high.

Given the “circumstances”—their late start, the threat of snow and ice in Connecticut, and the building Friday afternoon traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike—her husband declares that “he will be determining” their route. “Alone.”

How does he get away with simply claiming the authority to choose their route? Fuchs Kreimer doesn’t openly protest her husband’s autonomous action. Rather, she devotes the rest of her illuminating essay to considering her response to him in relation to relevant rabbinic texts and others, including Freud, Levinas, and the Israeli novelist David Grossman. [Read more...]

Roots Trip To the Castles in My Bloodline, Part 1


If you grew up in the Seventies as I did, you might recall a popular children’s T-shirt of the era—one at least popular among the reputedly disaffected youth of Cocopah Elementary in Scottsdale, Arizona. The caption (no graphics) went something like this:

My Parents Went On Vacation To Las Vegas and All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt.

Not just Las Vegas, of course; but Seattle, Chicago, New York, and so forth. Yet all we kids got—for the message was contagious despite the various places I had been with my parents—was a dusty, sunbaked playground in Scottsdale.

Fast-forward thousands of miles, and even more years than it seems, to the grassy, rain-soaked Highlands of Scotland where I just finished a hurried, harried “roots” trip with my wife and kids en route to a family sabbatical in Ireland. [Read more...]


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