Richard Kronenfeld
Adult Ba'al Teshuvah Ph.D. Physicist

Through the Looking Glass

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George Orwell, 1984

Watching the uproar in the Israeli Knesset chamber Monday morning online reminded me of a scene from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the last Broadway show my parents and I enjoyed before moving to Phoenix. (Younger readers, please pardon my nostalgia for a more rational time, before the escalation of the Vietnam War brought the Left into the limelight and ushered in the era of hysteria in which we have lived ever since.)

At the close of the first act, the lead character, a slave and master dreykopf named Pseudolus, memorably portrayed by the late Zero Mostel, has persuaded the rest of the cast to do all manner of silly things (one I particularly remember is the elderly man who has been persuaded to walk seven times around the seven hills of Rome). At the height of the tumult, with actors running all over the stage, Pseudolus turns to the audience and says, “I think I’ll create a little confusion.”

This is the situation we face today both in America and in Israel. The master manipulators of the Left have brought about national hysteria, which they are exploiting to expand their own power. (Don’t believe that they really care about any of the causes they promote; those are mere excuses like Lenin’s slogan “Peace, land, bread.”) Can anyone please explain how it is defending democracy to insist on retaining a system in which a self-perpetuating, unelected, unaccountable Supreme Court has the power to strike down not only any legislation but any ministerial appointment, any administrative decision to which it objects based only on a truly subjective criterion of “reasonableness,” a power which no other Supreme Court in any other democratic nation enjoys? Far from maintaining checks and balances, this system removes them entirely. There is no check on any ruling by the Supreme Court, which routinely imposes its will, for example, on the eviction of Arabs who have squatted on Jewish property in Jerusalem since Jordan invaded in 1948 and illegally asserted its sovereignty. And unlike every other democracy in the world, anyone can petition the court to rule on nearly any act of government without the necessity for having legal standing, that is, being personally affected by whatever they find objectionable. What we have is no less than the determination of the socialists who governed Israel from its founding in 1948 to maintain their grip on power by preventing the democratically elected right-wing majority from governing.

Likewise in America, the Left promotes chaos in the streets, hobbles the military and the police, and enlists every social institution from academia to the media to giant corporations to advance its agenda. The only difference is that at least so far, the Israeli Left has eschewed the full-bore woke agenda that in America threatens the innocence of children and encourages them to have themselves mutilated on the largely specious grounds of identifying with the opposite sex (that is, when they aren’t proclaiming that humans come in a multiplicity of genders, unlike virtually every other form of life on Earth), which has the positive side effect for them of helping to depopulate the Earth. (Don’t we all know that Homo sapiens has spoiled the idyllic existence of the lower animals in which the lion lays down with the lamb?)

Without further elaboration on points that I have raised in other posts, the bottom line is whether humanity in general and Jews in particular will grow spiritually and ascend to a higher level of morality or descend to the level of the antediluvian world. The choice is ours.


After writing my previous post, “Will the Real Racist Fascists Please Stand Up?” I discovered historical parallels between the Jewish people and America in Saul Jay Singer’s column “Benjamin Franklin and the Jews,” which appeared in the June 30 issue of The Jewish Press. [pp. 47-49] Rather than going back and slipping it into the already lengthy prior essay without editorial supervision, I’m appending it here. Some highlights are:

  • Benjamin Franklin admired the Jews’ resilience and perseverance and appreciated our contributions to the culture. He particularly praised the Jewish community of Philadelphia, his home city, for its contributions to the city, to the point of contributing five pounds toward paying the debts of Congregation Mikveh Israel. He was the patron of early Jewish settlers. Franklin’s College of Philadelphia was one of only three institutions of higher education that admitted Jews during the colonial era.
  • James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in two years and stayed on for another year as its first graduate student, learning Hebrew and political philosophy under the direction of college president John Witherspoon, was later one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Madison’s study of the Old Testament was a major influence in his formulation of freedom of religion in the First Amendment to the Constitution.
  • Most amazing of all, which I had never heard of previously, is that there was serious consideration after the American Revolution of having Hebrew replace English as our official national language, reflecting the widespread resentment toward England. (In 1795 the Continental Congress came within one vote of printing laws in German in addition to English.) Ezra Stiles, pastor of the Second Congregational Church of Newport, Rhode Island, the site of the first synagogue in America, is sometimes credited with introducing the idea. What is known to be true is that Stiles made Hebrew a required subject for freshmen, and the university seal included the words Urim and Harvard and the College of William and Mary also taught Hebrew, and Columbia College required it for all teachers. (Incidentally, studying Hebrew was not a new idea; William Bradford, leader of the Puritan colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts learned the language more than a century earlier so he could read the Bible in the original Hebrew.)

How much has changed since then!

About the Author
I'm a native New Yorker (Brooklyn, to be precise) transplanted to the desert as a teen-ager. I hold a Ph.D in Physics from Stanford and have taught mathematics and physics at the high school, community college, and university level. I'm an adult ba'al teshuvah and label myself as centrist Orthodox and a Religious Zionist along the lines of OU, Yeshiva University, and Mizrachi.
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