Was the Last Supper a Seder?

The great Italian Catholic painter and inventor Leonardo Da Vinci was born in Tuscany on this date in 1452. Among his masterworks is “The Last Supper,” a painting nearly thirty feet wide by fifteen feet high, in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. It shows Jesus and his disciples at a meal, […]

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Thursday Night Poetry: Hillel’s Disciple

by Anna Bat-Chai Wrobel I He washed the beggar’s feet you know the paintings seated low long back yielding to an angle of service his head bowed enough for the poor man to look down both humbled not humiliated each in awe of the humanity of the other II He fed the multitudes you know […]

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September 14: Christian Jerusalem

Helena of Constantinople, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, who adopted Christianity as the state religion of Rome, identified the cross on which, she said, Jesus was crucified, and the tomb from which he emerged in his conquest of death, on this date in 326 CE. Revered as a saint in both the Eastern Orthodox […]

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December 25: The Unconquered Sun

The Roman Emperor Aurelian established a feast of the birth of Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun), on this date in 274 CE. The move elevated the Sun God to a higher status among the divinities of Rome (which, of course, elevated the Sun God’s priesthood as well). Sol Invictus would be a popular god, considered […]

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December 13: Stalin’s Interlocutor

Emil Ludwig (1881-1948), a German-Swiss Jewish journalist best known for his interviews with Benito Mussolini, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and Joseph Stalin, conducted the latter one in Moscow on this date in 1931. “Never under any circumstances,” Stalin told him, without irony, “would our workers now tolerate power in the hands of one person. With us […]

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O My America: Bernie and the Christian Right

by Lawrence Bush NOW COMPLETING my semi-annual journey into the South to visit my daughter in South Carolina, I yesterday came upon this article in the Columbia Free Times, under the headline, “Should Christians Support Bernie Sanders?” Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders ventured into territory less likely to welcome his liberal message on September 14: […]

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August 6: More Popular than Jesus

On this date in 1966, the Beatles’ Jewish manager Brian Epstein cut short a vacation to fly to New York and defend John Lennon for making his infamous remark that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” The remark had inflamed Christian true-believers, especially in the American South, but also in Mexico, South Africa, and […]

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