Remembering Jackie Kennedy for More than Her Fashion Sense

There is still so much we don’t know about this very private woman. And that’s probably the way she would like it. It’s been 25 years since the death of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. When we remember the former first lady, specific images often come to mind: the fashionable young woman in the pillbox hat sitting[…]

Virginia Woolf Was More Than Just a Women’s Writer

She was a great observer of everyday life. Virginia Woolf, that great lover of language, would surely be amused to know that, some seven decades after her death, she endures most vividly in popular culture as a pun—within the title of Edward Albee’s celebrated drama, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? In Albee’s play, a troubled college professor[…]

Why Spinoza Was Excommunicated

He was an upstanding member of the Talmud Torah congregation – until he wasn’t. Bento de Spinoza was a young merchant in Amsterdam, one of many Sephardic Jews in that city involved in overseas trade in the early 1650s. The specialty of his family’s firm, which he and his brother Gabriel had been running since their father’s death in 1654,[…]

Ancient Monasticism and the Quest for Silence

Monasticism developed in part because people were seeking the solace of quiet places But finding solitude was a struggle. In our contemporary world, noise pollution has reached dangerous levels. The World Health Organization has argued that “excessive noise” is a serious threat to human health. Studies have shown that excessive exposure to noise not only causes hearing loss but also leads to heart[…]

Atheism Has Been Part of Many Asian Traditions for Millennia

It might appear to many that atheism is a modern idea. However, in parts of Asia, particularly in India, atheism has been part of beliefs for thousands of years. A group of atheists and secularists recently gathered in Southern California to talk about social and political issues. This was the first of three summits planned[…]