Category Archives: This Week’s Reads

An aggregate of the week’s selected readings; generally op-ed articles, think pieces, or important bits of information I feel should be read, regardless of my opinion on the content or the author(s); ideally updated on a weekly basis at the end of each week.

Readings: Week of 4/16/17

The weekly readings blog posts are coming back after a long hiatus. I regret that I wasn’t able to stay up to pace with them, but the first quarter of 2017 came with significant developments in my academic and professional life, which kept me extremely occupied. I hope to discuss those developments in a future post.

As always, readings are split into categories for ease of access.

Required Readings 

Readings on American Politics and Culture

Readings on International Politics

Readings on Syria

Readings on Turkey

Readings on France

Readings on Israel-Palestine


Reading on Muslim Americans and Islam in America



Readings on Religious Thought, Religious Life, Theology & Ethics

Personal Essays


Heartwarming Holiday Stories

A short list of heartwarming holiday stories from this year that will uplift your spirits and restore your faith in humanity. The world can feel like a dark place sometimes, and there may be moments where we feel hopeless about the state of the human condition because of it, but we can’t allow hopelessness to defeat us.

Remember the words of Anne Frank: “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too. I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”

Do not be disheartened, always maintain hope, and most importantly, remember that love conquers all. 


‘No one eats alone’: Muslim-owned restaurant offers free Christmas meals for the homeless, elderly by Amy B. Wang (Washington Post)

The Hanukkah-Christmas convergence couldn’t be more symbolic of the light we must embrace by Petula Dvorak (Washington Post)

Slideshow: Christmas and Hanukkah Around the World by Wall Street Journal (Wall Street Journal)

A Syrian Jew’s message to Aleppo: Keep tradition and don’t lose hope by Ben Sales (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Christmas in Karachi: Who needs reindeer if you have camels? by Dawn News (Dawn News)

Christmas peace train inaugurated in Pakistan by WION (WION News)

Hebrew-Arabic Calligraphy From God’s Own Country by Paul Rockower (Huffington Post)

Why It’s Not Wrong To Wish Muslims Merry Christmas by Mustafa Akyol (New York Times)

Muslim choir girls sing Arabic Christmas carols in touching video from Beirut by Bethan McKernan (The Independent)

Iraqis Celebrate Christmas Near Mosul After ISIS Pushed Out by NBC News (NBC News)

King of Bahrain hosts menorah-lighting ceremony by Times of Israel Staff (Times of Israel)

Ma’oz Tzur and the “End of Christianity” by Yitzhak Y. Melamed (

To all those celebrating/observing Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or just another day of life, I send you much love and warmth. Have a joyous, festive, and blessed holiday season!



Readings: Week of 12/18/16

Masha Gessen Readings

Masha Gessen is a Russian-American writer, philosopher, and activist who has written extensively on authoritarianism and autocracy as they relate to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. She grew up in a Jewish family and her great-grandfather was part of the Jewish resistance in World War II Europe (he joined the resistance after realizing that working “within the system” to save his people proved futile). As a part of history, her story is captivating, but as a part of reality, it is also foreboding.

Gessen published two important articles this week, but along with them I’m also sharing two older ones she’s written. Personally, I think all four are required readings. This is also the order in which they should be read:

  1. Autocracy: Rules for Survival (New York Review of Books)
  2. Trump: The Choice We Face (New York Review of Books)
  3. The Putin Paradigm (New York Review of Books)
  4. Arguing the Truth with Trump and Putin (New York Times)

American Politics


Other Middle East


Extra: Most Read Stories – New York Times





Readings: Week of 12/11/16

Required Readings:

On Syria:

On Islam in the West:

On Global Student Activism:

On media engagement, propaganda, and conspiracy theories:

Other Middle East:





Readings: Week of December 4, 2016

This week’s readings were pretty intense and lengthy, so I’ve separated them into categories to make it easier to sift through them. In each category, I’ve highlighted important analysis in purple and must-reads in red.

Israel and Palestine News/Analysis


U.S. Politics 


Hitler (yes, this is an actual category this week)





Readings: Week of November 27, 2016

This is the first time I’m sending my ‘weekly readings‘ blog post being via my newsletter, so just a few things:

  • Most news sites have paywalls, which means that they only allow you to read a certain number of articles per month until you have to pay to read more. For example, the New York Times has a paywall of 10 articles. Some ways to get around this: 1) If your you’ve reached the limit on your phone, read them on your laptop, which gives you a fresh start. 2) Read articles in different browsers. 3) Type the title of the article in the search bar and load it from there. This doesn’t count toward the paywall.
  • However, I would nonetheless suggest subscribing to the New York Times. For a few dollars a month, you’ll have full access to all online publications and it is fully worth your money. You do not have to agree with everything you read, but the exposure to high-quality content and a diverse range of views on a whole host of issues is vital to your intellectual development. It will help you challenge your own thoughts, polish your ideas, and improve your vocabulary.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything I read or share. In fact, I may vehemently disagree with some readings. But I am also a firm believer in engaging with challenging ideas, which first requires understanding what they are. I see it as an inextricable part of my growth to challenge my own ideas and to continuously revise them as I develop. With that said, here are some articles I read this week which helped me to do exactly that. I’ve divided them into sections based on category, and have emphasized in red which ones I think are must-reads. Enjoy!

American Politics

  1. Is 90% of the Quran a legal document? CNN, Myth and Math by Imam Joe Bradford (Joe Bradford) [must-read]
  2. Trump Excuses the White Working Class from the Politics of Personal Responsibility by Peter Beinart (The Atlantic) [must-read]
  3. How Stable Are Liberal Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red’ by Amanda Taub (The New York Times) [must-read]
  4. Trump: The Choice We Face by Masha Gessen (The New York Review of Books) [must-read]
  5. Of Nine Tech Companies, Only Twitter Says It Would Refuse to Help Build Muslim Registry for Trump by Sam Biddle (The Intercept)
  6. Mr. Trump, Meet the Constitution by The New York Times Editorial Board (The New York Times)
  7. White-Collar Supremacy by Kelly J. Baker (The New York Times)
  8. Glenn Beck Is Sorry About All That by Ana Marie Cox (The New York Times)


  1. For Bashar al-Assad, Winning the Syrian War May Lead to New Troubles by Alissa J. Rubin (The New York Times)
  2. Foreign fighters pour into Syria to bolster Assad regime by Erika Solomon (Financial Times)
  3. Syrian crisis: Air strike kills the last clown of Aleppo, Anas al-Basha by Eryk Bagshaw (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  4. Inside Kerry’s race to stop the siege of Aleppo by Josh Rogin (The Washington Post)

Global Politics

  1. Pakistan Names New Military Leader by Salman Masood (The New York Times)
  2. Jimmy Carter: America Must Recognize Palestine by Jimmy Carter (The New York Times) [must-read]
  3. Why encourage Palestinian hope with mosque loudspeakers? by Sayed Kashua (Haaretz)
  4. Reform and Conservative Jews try a new tactic in battle for Israeli religious pluralism by Michele Chabin (Religion News Service)

Don’t forget to tell your friends to subscribe to the newsletter!


Readings: Week of November 20, 2016

Thanksgiving reading

  1. The First Amnesty by Lawrence Downes (The New York Times)

Election Commentary 

  1. Blame Trump’s Victory on College-Educated Whites, Not the Working Class by Eric Sasson (The New Republic)
  2. Sanders: Dems must move beyond ‘identity politics’ by Mallory Shelbourne (The Hill)
  3. Shirtless Trump Saves Drowning Kitten by Brian Phillips (MTV News)

Post-Trump America

  1. No Trump, We Can’t Just Get Along by Charles M. Blow (The New York Times)
  2. Living In Trump’s Soviet Union by Gary Shteyngart (The New Yorker)
  3. Alt-Right Gathering Exults in Trump Election With Nazi-Era Salute by Joseph Goldstein (The New York Times)
  4. White Nationalists Celebrate ‘an Awakening’ After Donald Trump’s Victory by Alan Rappeport and Noah Weiland (The New York Times)
  5. Museum Condemns White Nationalist Conference Rhetoric (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)
  6. Climate Change in Trump’s Age of Ignorance by Robert N. Proctor (The New York Times)
  7. Obama Reckons With A Trump Presidency by David Remnick (The New Yorker)

Law and Activism

  1. The Art of the Protest by Tina Rosenberg (The New York Times)
  2. Why Korematsu Is Not A Precedent by Noah Feldman (The New York Times)
  3. Power Imbalance at the Pipeline Protest by the New York Times Editorial Board (The New York Times)

Global Politics

  1. League of nationalists by the Economist (The Economist)
  2. Angela Merkel to Seek 4th Term as Germany’s Leader by Alison Smale (The New York Times)
  3. Pakistan Names New Military Leader by Salman Masood (The New York Times)
  4. Israeli Muslims Want to Save the Muezzin – and So Do Ultra-Orthodox Jews by Eatta Prince-Gibson (The Forward)
  5. How the Iranian-Saudi Proxy Struggle Tore Apart the Middle East by Max Fisher (The New York Times)