Category Archive: Personal Journey

May 28 2016

On good and good enough.

I had to get a new car. I loved my old car. She was a Toyota Echo, and I’d had her since she was born in 2000. She was perfect, as though made for me—cheap and basic, reliable, little and economical, built for a short person, with a soft comfy seat and lots of storage …

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May 17 2016

On this American life.

It has been months since I posted any thoughts on this site—months since I’ve written anything. Much has happened in the past couple of years that kept me away, and I will tell you in a few minutes, but let me start with something else. Last Saturday, on NPR’s “This American Life,” David Rakoff described …

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Sep 23 2015

On humility, again.

I return to this subject years after I wrote about it, briefly, as a “thought of the day” on June 11, 2012. (You can find the passage now on the “Older Thoughts of the Day” page.) I return to it because I had thought of it on and off for years, and never stopped after …

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Jul 20 2015

On what my faith is good for.

My parents are among the few best people I know. Inseparable—it’ll be five decades this year—they found each other and created a warm, safe, and joyful family for their children, and they taught us by their very example everything I value about life: how to love unconditionally and how to show love; that faith in …

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May 27 2015

On why I brush my teeth in the morning.

I have begun work on a very interesting, long-term translation project with a historian of literature, who is writing a book about Dostoevsky. For this project, I am translating hundreds of pages of obscure notes and reminiscences about Dostoevsky, some of his own writing, and comparing existing translations. Not only have I re-immersed myself in …

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Jan 26 2015

On Jonah and me and running from God.

Hello again, my friends. Some of you, my precious regular readers, have noticed that my blog has been on hiatus for the past few weeks. I have been insanely busy, as have all who work in the Church during the Christmas season, and I have been insanely tired, and I’ve been unwell – but I’d …

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Sep 16 2014

On the treacherous question of Israel.

Some topics are so difficult, so treacherous and painful, that even notorious provocateurs like me navigate them trepidatiously, rarely, and noting with care who is listening. In my life, and the life of my family, Israel is such a topic. Oh, we think about it. We read about it constantly – nearly every day – …

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Mar 09 2014

On how I learn to stop worrying and be a little grateful for a change.

A couple of weeks ago, Alice Herz-Sommer died at the age of 110. She was 39 when, with her family and scores of other Jewish intelligentsia, she was sent to Terezin, to a concentration camp the Nazi regime used to demonstrate their humane treatment of the Jews. Through starvation and the death of her mother …

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Nov 11 2013

On certainty and the comfort of emergency rooms.

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1 NIV) About six weeks ago, I was brought to the nearest emergency room and, after a night on a stretcher, was admitted to a hospital, where I spent a few days before returning …

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Oct 20 2013

On recovery from darkness.

It commonly happens that something I read or watch prompts me to put together words on a topic, though the thoughts had been there a while. This time, the trigger is a West Wing episode titled “Noel.” It’s a Christmas episode removed by a few weeks from an ark showing white supremacists trying to shoot …

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