The Price of Being Jewish: An Interview with Judea Pearl

The downward slant of Judea Pearl’s eyes lends a perpetually sorrowful expression to his bearded face. Yet, he is rarely somber during our talk; in fact, even his serious reflections have a way of meandering to wry observations that prompt his ready smile and easy laughter. The 70-year-old Pearl has just come from accepting a posthumous humanitarian award on behalf of his son, slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. In his thick Israeli accent, Pearl tells me about the speech he’s just given in which he repeated some of Danny’s final words: “My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.” Daniel Pearl, the Journal’s South Asia bureau chief, was abducted on January 23, 2002. Lured by the promise of an interview with an Al Qaeda leader in the Pakistani port city of Karachi,...

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A Jewish Life

Talking Jewish With Deborah Tannen   It was Thanksgiving 1978 in Berkeley. Some guests brought cranberry sauce, some brought sweet potato pie; Deborah Tannen—who was analyzing conversations for her doctoral dissertation in linguistics—brought her tape recorder. Over a turkey dinner that lasted two and a half hours, three Jews and three Gentiles, ages 29 to 35, discussed 38 topics that included New York geography, relationships, Quonset huts, piano hands and—of course—food. When Tannen later listened to the tape of the lively discourse, it struck her: unlike the three Gentiles (whom she calls Sally, David and Chad), she and the other two Jews (Steve and Peter)—all of whom had grown up in New York City and were of Eastern European descent—spoke dramatically and rapidly and pursued a variety of topics simultaneously. In fact, so many distinctions between the two...

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