Seeing All That is In Between

Recently, I read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. Coates writes about the realities of his life as a black man in America, and he manages to do so in ways that are both deeply personal and specific while also helping readers to see that his experience is not singular. The book is in the form of a letter to his son, lending it a type of intimacy and honesty that we often can…

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A Darkness too Deep: The 9/11 Memorial

I visited the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City this summer. I wanted badly for it to work.  It did not. Good memorials allow us to have a profound emotional experience that brings us to a greater understanding of what it was like to have been there. They provide a sense of closure to a complex and difficult historical moment.  They touch us both as individuals and as members of the…

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Lost and Found, Part 2

I am staring at my dad’s naked body. He has just stepped out of the shower. He stands facing the bathroom mirror and looks down at nothing in particular. He seems to know there is something else he must do, but it doesn’t come to him. So he stands, unselfconscious, and he looks and he waits. Water drips off his body. He gives a light shiver. My dad is 84 years old and has dementia.…

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Everyday Semiotics: The Confederate Flag and Dylann Roof

This gallery contains 2 photos.

When I moved to Springfield, Missouri in the summer of 2001, a house about two blocks away from ours flew a Confederate flag. My family and I tried to figure out what this symbol meant. Where the owners of the flag communicating their love of Southern heritage or their desire to keep white folks on top of the social structure? It seemed like a bad omen to me, as a Jew, because I understood that…

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