I have two degrees in religion, one from Yale, and I once took the Ulpan in Jerusalem. I was one of very few Western visitors invited to return to Afghanistan by the Taliban government, in 2000, and I have had short-term contracts with several UN agencies, serving in Mozambique, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Mike Jacobs was a good friend from childhood who died in his mid-twenties. Before he died he made a special trip to come and see me. He said that he wanted me to know how much my interest in being Jewish had always meant to him, since nobody else in the Southern town in which we sere raised would ever talk about it.