I was reading Pat Barker’s “The Silence of the Girls.” About the Trojan War, drawn from the Iliad. Narrated by the nineteen year old bride of a king won by Achilles in the Trojan War. A triumph of Greek civilization.

The same day, I went to study Torah at my synagogue. We are reading Exodus — the story of the creation of the Jewish people.

Neither the Iliad nor Exodus comes to me with easy familiarity. I learned some of the Exodus story in Sunday School and at Passover seders. I can’t say how or when I learned what I know about the great Greek stories. I don’t know enough.

I spent my career as an educator, a school superintendent. Had I wanted to, I could not have changed the curriculum to include the Iliad and Exodus. It would have been foolish to try.  Changes that buck the culture don’t happen, don’t take, don’t keep.

I mourn the loss. The stories of the Greeks and the Jews are founding pillars of our civilization. They should be familiar to us all.