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Life on the fringe

Later in life Albert Einstein became a household name and a symbol, in a way, of the wise elder. While he had a healthy ego, he also had a sense of humour and didn’t take the opinions of the world too seriously. This is the picture painted in the biography by Walter Isaacson, a book that shows not only his scientific genius, but also how his life weaved in and out of many of the social issues of his time. Einstein was raised in a Jewish family. They weren’t religious, but they came from the ancient Jewish culture, a heritage Einstein came to appreciate only later in life. Part of the culture was a respect for learning. Although Jews could be relegated to the fringes of society, rabbis were scholars and the arts and sciences tended to be treated with respect. Across Europe, for centuries, Jews had been tolerated, or

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