It was a rainy day in Arad, one of the driest places on earth. I was on my first trip to Israel since becoming editor of Moment. It was February of 2008. A friend insisted I needed to meet Amos Oz (1960-2018). Amos was the soul of Israel, he said.
It’s hard to imagine that at one time, this tiny island, so far from the cobblestone streets of Portugal, the canals of Amsterdam and the shtetls of Eastern Europe, had the largest Jewish population in the Americas.
If it weren’t for the slice of Ebinger’s Blackout Cake wrapped in cellophane and sitting in the fridge behind a jar labeled ‘Manischewitz Borsht with Diced Beets’ and filled with week-old black coffee, I would already be on a Q train headed for school. Then...
Leib’s brother was named Michael, after Michael Faraday, creator of the balloon and author of the work The Chemical History of the Candle. Faraday was a prominent chemist and physicist during the mid-1800s, and Leib’s father—a balloonist during the week, an aspiring inventor on weekends—found Mr. Faraday’s biography and rubbery inventions encouraging in both his personal and professional life.