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The Time of the Year

This month before the Yamim Noraim, Days of Awe, is the time to start thinking about our souls rather than our politics. I have always loved words, their sounds and their meanings, in Hebrew and English. So that when I reflect on myself and ideas that I value, the first thing I do is examine what I mean by the…

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The MoMA and History

I am a member of the New York Museum of Modern Art. It is a cultural icon. I have always believed that public art galleries and museums ought to be neutral on matters of politics, even if individual artists obviously are not. Once upon a time museums and galleries in the free world showed art without political judgment. Their values…

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Who is afraid of a solar eclipse?

There will be a solar eclipse on August 21st visible across a band of the US for the first time since 1918. Solar eclipses occur when the moon blocks the rays of the sun reaching the earth. There are more lunar eclipses and planetary eclipses. But for us on earth, the solar is the big one. Until a few hundred…

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Embarrassed to be Israeli?

This week I met someone just back from the Greek islands who told me that they kept on meeting Israelis who confided to them that they were embarrassed to be identified as Israelis and preferred to hide it. (I have hard that Americans abroad, ashamed of their government, do the same, preferring to be known as Canadian!) It reminded me…

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Charlie Gard and Life

You may have read about the battle in London over the final days of life for a baby called Charlie Gard. He was born with a form of mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome that causes increasing muscle weakness and brain damage. There is no known cure. The doctors in Great Ormond Street Hospital in London diagnosed this fatal condition. They put…

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Fasting on the 9th of Av

The fast of the Ninth of Av, Tisha B’Av, falls this coming Monday night and Tuesday. All other so-called “minor fasts” in Judaism run from dawn to dusk—like Ramadan. Unlike Ramadan, which lasts for a month, we have many fewer fast days. But we also have two fasts during the year that run for over 24 hours—Yom Kippur and Tisha…

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