The first time the word "rebbetzin" appeared in The New York Times was in 1931, in a review of a book about Yiddish theater. The term stood untranslated; the reviewer and his editors assumed that readers would understand the meaning.
"Both sides ought to be properly taught," President George W. Bush told reporters in Texas Aug. 1, "so people can understand what the debate is about. Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought.... You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."
The oldest and most primitive human dates back about 7 million years, according to a skull found by scientists in Central Africa.
"That's so depressing," I say to my husband, Larry. "I can't believe that in 7 million years we haven't evolved any further than this."
"This" being a world in which half the people live on less than $2 a day; in which 1 billion people go to bed hungry every night; in which 115 million children never go to school at all; and in which 27 million people live in some kind of slavery.
"You're looking at this all wrong," Larry assures me. "Seven million years is an insignificant blip in the history of the cosmos."
And, Jewish tradition tells me, the first 6,994,235 years hardly count.
"The ideals that form the moral compass of Western civilization, the belief that every human being has value, the belief that no one is above the law, the belief that how each of us treats our fellow human beings matters -- these were all the gifts of the Jews."