I help teach a university course on The Holocaust in Historical Context. It is, it should be, impossible to remain unaffected by immersive study of Western Antisemitism and how religious, economic, political, racial, nationalistic, and cultural trends intersected to culminate in the ghastly monstrosity of the Third Reich and its horrorhouse of moral inversions. The Nazi death camps are an evil, upside-down world where pregnancy means death; where rats thrive and humans fester; where doctors…Continue
Every September college students confront a myriad of student activity organizations, each competing for student loyalties. While campus religious groups might be considered realms for quiet reflection and prayer, things change amongst a plurality of competing enticements for student membership. Suddenly, the Catholic Center is just one option alongside a cappella choirs, the Beekeeping Club, the Anime Club, the Cigar Aficionados, the Harry Potter Alliance, and the Wine & Cheese Society.…Continue
In the summertime I visited Padua and went to the Scrovegni Chapel, dated 1305. In the past 40 years the frescos have begun to crumble, and curators have researched atmospheric problems in order to counteract the decay. Long story short: this chapel is OLD. The air on the globe has totally changed since 1305 and the frescoes are being choked by a myriad of climate issues.
So the museum curators put millions of bucks into sealing the whole chapel, purifying the air, and building a…Continue
I helped my Muslim friends break the Ramadan fast at the home of Abdel, an Indian scholar of classical Islam who works at the Great Mosque in Rome to facilitate interfaith dialogue and to ameliorate Islamophobia. Every time he hears someone insult his religion out of ignorance, he will stop and make friends with them, ask them how they developed their opinion, and offer his devout Muslim life as a counterpoint. He will share his stories and teach them. He is a courageous man.