The deeply moving 14th Annual Ariel Avrech Lecture was the anchor for an inspiring weekend that cemented old friendships and introduced me to new friends.
Some of you may remember that, about a week ago, I wrote a post saying that I’d be flying down to L.A. to attend the 14th Annual Ariel Avrech Lecture, which Robert Avrech, of Seraphic Secret, and his wife, Karen, sponsor annually in honor of their dear son Ariel, who died in 2003. That weekend (which I extended into Monday) has now finished and I am home again. It was a very wonderful weekend in so many ways.
To begin with, I got a chance to know my in-laws so much better than before and with greater knowledge comes greater appreciation for what great people they are. I know I’ve boasted for years that I have the best in-laws, but in the past I’ve always seen them in a pack, at mass get-togethers. This time, I stayed with my sister-in-law, her husband, and their son. They could not have been more gracious.
I felt genuinely cared for while I was in my in-laws’ house. As a mother, that’s a rare and wonderful feeling. After all, the normal state of the world is that the mother and homemaker cares for others — which is as it should be. That doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t appreciate a break in the routine.
The fact is that my in-laws are ferociously intelligent, informed people, and conversation with them is as stimulating as it gets. It wasn’t just politics. Both of them are luminaries in their respective fields, and that too made any conversation interesting.
I love their dogs too.
Having that kind of visit with relatives by marriage could have been enough for a wonderful weekend, but there was more.
On Sunday, as I mentioned at the top of this post, I attended the 14th Annual Ariel Avrech Memorial Lecture, at which Daniel Greenfield spoke. Before I get to his talk — which was, as one would expect, brilliant — I want to talk a bit about the entire event. [Read more…]