June 2016

After Orlando, A Shout & A Kiss

The gospel on Monday, the day after the Orlando bloodbath, was a hard one:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
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"Dear Bishop: Shut Up & Pray"

Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn since 2003, gave the commencement address to this year’s graduating class of St. John’s University. Below is a letter written in response to that address by the father of one of the graduates. It reflects the tenor of Bp. DiMarzio’s speech quite clearly. Equally evident is the justice of one father’s anger at the contradiction between the purpose of the event and the bishop’s self-admiring seizure of it to promote a specific political agenda. The first obligation of any commencement speaker is to honor the occasion. Continue Reading
Fragments On A Theme

The seventieth anniversary issue (November, 2015) of Commentary was dedicated to a symposium on “The Jewish Future.” Seventy Jewish writers and scholars responded to John Podhoretz’ request to answer the question: What will be the condition of the Jewish community fifty years from now? The tenor of responses range from the exhilarating to the unsettling. All are  compelling. One of the few women respondents is of interest here. Bethany Mandel described herself as “a writer on politics and culture and a stay-at-home mother.” She cited an earlier Pew study on American Jewry that reveals the gradual disappearance of non-Orthodox Judaism. Continue Reading
Use & Abuse of Language

It is a short walk between linguistic priggery and the verbal bows and scrapes expected of us in talking about the great and the good. That thought nagged at me some months back at a symposium on “Freedom of Religion in the Age of Pope Francis.” To kick-start discussion, panelists were asked to say two things about Francis. Each was allotted a single yea and a single nay. A double yea might have been okay but, please, no double nays. Not even a stand-alone one. Continue Reading