Byline: By Ilan Stavans

Friday Takeaway: Kaddish for my father


My father died a couple of weeks ago. I loved him dearly: I was his son and also his pupil.For years I had imagined the moment in which he would be...

Friday Takeaway: Ode to Hampshire


Hampshire College is in a woeful existential crisis that happens to be taking place during a perfect storm.Large market factors are shrinking the...

The other day, while a group of friends were bemoaning the current status of the world, I thought of Rebbe Nachman.“We are on a boat about to sink,...

Friday Takeaway: Why we lie


Mark Twain, in his travelogue “Following the Equator” (1897), said that truth is stranger than fiction because fiction is obliged to stick to...

Friday Takeaway: Anti-Semite and Jew


 The Pittsburgh massacre a month ago at the L’Simcha Congregation during Shabbat morning services was the deadliest attack against the American...

Friday Takeaway:  Ilan Stavans


With another looming election before us, it seems fitting to reflect on the current role that elites have in the governance of democracies. I...

Friday Takeaway: Fortune’s Fool


I bought a lottery ticket a few months ago. It was foolish of me. Playing the lottery strikes me as a waste of time. It represents an investment on...

Friday Takeaway: Memetics


I am fascinated with memes. The insistence with which they descend on me through an assortment of technological devices is overwhelming. I do my...

Friday Takeaway: A Walking Shadow


‘Life’s but a walking shadow,” Macbeth says in his most famous soliloquy, “a poor player / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage / And then...

Friday Takeaway: Forgetting


I watch my father as he sits alone in a large room full of people. For long minutes, he stares into nothingness. This from a man who was always...

Friday Takeaway: Plagiarize This!


A few weeks ago, I gave my students a special assignment: to plagiarize a text, whichever they chose, with the expressed intention of improving it....

Friday Takeaway: Ilan Stavans


I have been in a coup d’état in Caracas, a block away from a crowded bus that burst into flames after a bomb exploded in Spain’s Basque region...

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