Louisa May Alcott’s Jewish Portuguese Ancestors

Jan. 17 2020

As a child, the celebrated 19th-century American novelist Louisa May Alcott was told that her maternal grandfather, Joseph May, was the descendant of Portuguese Jews. Although May was a practicing Unitarian, the family reportedly took pride in its Jewish ancestry. Alcott’s biographer and relative Eve LaPlante writes:

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Read more at Forward

More about: Literature, Portugal, Sephardim, U.S history

How the U.S. Can Get Smart about Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in the Middle East

Sept. 27 2021

Considering the current state of the region and the policy mistakes of the recent past, David Pollock and Robert Satloff outline a strategy that is “both virtuous and realistic” for defending human rights and encouraging democratization in a region plagued by autocracy, chaos, and brutality. They argue that “in the long run, more democratic, tolerant, and inclusive governments are likely to be better at defending themselves, and more reliable and effective security partners for the United States.”

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Arab democracy, Human Rights, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy