Islamic violence

Scattered Notes on Notre-Dame

My heart splintered watching Notre-Dame go up in flames. The disorder of my own responses—a jumble of dismay, anger, and foreboding—permits no tidy structure. What follows is a series of thoughts in no strict sequence. Bear with me. •    •    •    • “Somebody did something” on 9/11. Taking a cue from Ilhan Omar, can we wonder if somebody did something to Notre-Dame? It is a rational conjecture. Watching the cathedral tower burn, it was impossible for the mind’s eye not to go directly to the burning towers of the World Trade Center. 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