How to Count Family

Rydal Mount - home of the poet William WordsworthPhoto by Neil Parley CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0). One summer, while vacationing in New Brunswick, Canada, I took a ferry from the mainland to Deer Island, a small island in the Bay of Fundy. While searching for a picnic spot, I passed a bookshop advertising old books … Continue reading How to Count Family

Of Dreams and Dreamers

Joseph and his Brethren, c. 1665-1670. Bartolome Esteban Murillo. In November 1915, in a prison in the state of Utah, a firing squad executed a thirty-six-year-old Swedish-American immigrant. The man had been tried for and found guilty of committing murder during a robbery a little more than twenty-two months earlier. Now, over one hundred years … Continue reading Of Dreams and Dreamers

Keep on Climbing

Jacob’s Ladder, by Jacques Stella, Date: 1650. In the section of the Pentateuch that will be read in synagogue this coming Sabbath [Genesis 28:10 - 32.3], the patriarch Jacob is traveling, on rather short notice, to spend time with his uncle, his mother's brother. His brother, Esau, is angry with Jacob. He wants to kill … Continue reading Keep on Climbing

With Darwin’s Eyes and Ears

"Odysseus in the Cave of Polyphemus" by Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678). Charles Darwin is fascinating to read, from many viewpoints. There is, of course, the obvious one—the scientific one. He is a keen observer. We marvel at the meticulous details he records about botany, geology, marine biology, and zoology, for instance. It’s impossible, though, not to … Continue reading With Darwin’s Eyes and Ears