ArchiveFebruary 2022



We have a neighbor in our building, let’s call him Vasily, who is from Belarus, but went to school in Ukraine. He is a scientist like his father, who held a prominent position in the old Soviet scientific establishment. Growing up in the former Soviet Union has instilled in Vasily a mostly healthy skepticism about almost everything and a fear of being seen as what Israelis call a “freyer,” a...

Trusting Teachers


I wrote recently about some troubling trends in education in New Hampshire where my children spent a significant portion of their school years and where I taught for a decade. Last time the focus was on the legislature’s passage of a bill prohibiting teachers from exposing their students to ideas or materials that would “cause discomfort.” By my reckoning, that places everything but the weather...

Family Trees


I’ve always envied people who have access to their family histories going back to the proverbial Charlemagne. That is not the case for me for several reasons. First, I didn’t know any of my grandparents. My paternal grandparents died before I was born and my maternal grandparents emigrated directly from Poland to what was then Palestine, where they died when I was very young. They would have been...

Travelin’ Man


One way to clear your head of obsessive thoughts – unfulfilled tasks, a sequence of events that need unscrambling – is to grab a pen and pad and write them down. That’s what I did yesterday when travel was front and center in my thoughts, as it has been through much of this pandemic time. I’ve been feeling particularly hemmed in lately and was seeking relief by cataloging the places we’ve been...

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