Links for 12/29/16

I sympathize with E. J. Dionne who, in this morning's Washington Post, is grabbing for straws as he seeks a ray of sunshine on the political horizon. But, I think the clouds are darker, and the rays of sunshine thinner, than Dionne perceives. 

At RealClearPolitics, Peter Berkowitz tells what it was like to teach a course on modern ideas of freedom to ultra-Orthodox Jews. This is an essay about bridge building in a society where the divisions run deeper than those in America, but which are, not exactly softened, but at least contextualized by shared or at least overlapping Jewish identities. 

At RNS, David Gushee offers his look back and look ahead, with this laconic paragraph capturing his mood:

After 30 years attempting to advocate for a particular kind of American public life, and experiencing the rejection of almost everything I have sought, I feel a deep sense of powerlessness in relation to where our culture and politics are going. I am not the only one who feels that American public life has gotten beyond me, that it is somehow now up to others to take their turn tilting at those windmills.

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