The Sludge

I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest…. I’ve never been more loved and appreciated than when I tried to “justify” and affirm someone’s mistaken beliefs; or when I tried to give my friends the incorrect, absurd answers they wished to hear. In my presence they could talk and agree with themselves, the world was nailed down, and they loved it. They received a feeling of security. RALPH ELLISON, INVISIBLE MAN One Friday afternoon, in a carpeted alcove off the main sanctuary of my school, a Jewish school in the suburbs of Philadelphia, my class collected in a circle as we did every week. A young, liberally perfumed Israeli woman in a tight turtleneck sweater read to us from a textbook about the exodus from Egypt. I asked her why our ancestors had been enslaved to begin with, and then wondered aloud whether it was because only

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