Birthrights

One morning in tenth grade, my Bible teacher started class by holding up a copy of The New York Times. He was the one we called Little Adler, to distinguish him from his older, taller brother, Big Adler, who also taught at the school. Little Adler was a good guy, at a place that was notably short on them. A modest, bearded man, slightly stooped, he was compassionate, he had a dry sense of humor, and he was the only teacher that I came across, in my ten years of yeshiva day school education, who told us that it was okay to ask questions — meaning fundamental questions, questions of belief. “Every story on the front page today,” he announced that morning, “is about the Jews.” Then he proceeded to point at them one by one, explaining why. Some were obvious. This was the year of the Camp David accords,

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