"It was about 10 pm and the din rose to a feverish and exhausting peak, so I stepped into another room and sat down for a moment of quiet reflection. And there, as I was looking at their bookshelf, I thought of you. Yes, Mahmoud, an American gay Jewish intellectual celebrating Hanukkah with his husband, daughter, and Jewish-Muslim family in Los Angeles thought of you.
On the top shelf, next to the trashy novels and other popular fiction, sat a Torah, the first five books of Moses, the prophet near and dear to both you and me. Next to the Torah sat a Koran. There they were, the holiest books in Judaism and Islam sitting perched on a bookshelf in my cousin’s house beneath the mountains of gift wrap from the recently wrapped presents.
I’m pretty sure that neither my birth cousin, the Jewish one, nor my in-law, the Muslim one, has cracked open those books in a while (I could see a little dust on the jackets). But as I sat there staring at the Torah and Koran nuzzled up together on that bookshelf, my eyes actually welled up at the transcendent experience that was taking place in that house, 8,000 miles and worlds of vision away from the image of the world you have been projecting to me since you became president.
Mahmoud, my eyes teared up because I discovered s"