Molting is a great thing -- I've done it once or twice myself. And now the intrepid Phil Weiss, to whom I'm indebted for many kindnesses, including reconnecting me with the man who's now my husband, has just accomplished a molting of his own. He's left the New York Observer, where he was a columnist for years and a recently converted blogger, and has taken his blog, MondoWeiss, with him. I've changed the link to MondoWeiss at the right so that you can see what he's up to.
The change, it seems, like many moltings, was accompanied by some personal pain and intellectual wrestling: in short, Weiss, who's nothing if not a dogged questioner, has been re-exploring what it means to be Jewish. After an apparently intense season of reflection on his own roots, omnivorous reading, conversations with scholars and other experts, and trips to Israel and Syria, he found his views about Israel changing. This was what he wanted to write about, and his blog on the Observer sometimes drew 100 comments a day. But the financially beleaguered Observer's new owner, an observant Orthodox Jew named Jared Kushner, didn't like where Weiss's intellectual journey was taking him.
Weiss and I got to know each other through our Tonga books -- here is the cover of his chilling 2004 account of the Deborah Gardner murder, the same tragedy, though fictionalized, which begins my novel Night Blind. Weiss has moved on from Tonga and his long obsession with the 1976 murder -- I congratulate him for that, though I know that at the heart of his obsession was his passion for justice, fairness and reason. Perhaps those same qualities are at play in his current transition.
You can read the whole interesting story, from Weiss's perspective, in the June 4, 2007 issue of American Conservative magazine -- www.amconmag.com.
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