Unconventional reading

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (stljewishlight.com/chaplain).

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

How do you read a magazine? It occurred to me that I read them backwards, or as a traditional prayer book, from right to left. In fact, I read newspapers in the same fashion. I begin in the back with the editorials and work forward. I realize there is a constant back and forth motion as most articles are continued on inside pages.

During this year I had an excess of magazines delivered to the house. Who can say “no” to a young student or neighbor asking me to sign up for a subscription in order to raise money for school, sports and scouts? With the ease of a colorful bag and tissue paper, who needs wrapping paper anymore?!

When reading Vanity Fair, I start with the interview. (I always imagine my answers to the questions. “Most admirable quality in a friend” (loyalty). “Happiest moment”  (When in a state of inner peace). Runner’s World also ends with an interview although not as emotionally in depths.

Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Town and Country are a visual delight. The glossy pages, even the advertisements, make me smile. The colors dance off the pages. What I deem the really good interviews are towards the back of the magazines. Reading from right to left allows me quicker access to the “real” stories of interest.

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So perhaps this explains why I never complete a book without skipping ahead at some point to read the last few pages? Really. But it still doesn’t explain my not-so-secret desire to become an obituary writer for the New York Times. Next blog. Maybe.