Why Jews Don't Smile | Letters | Chicago Reader

Why Jews Don't Smile 

To the editors:

"Abortion 1990" [September 15] will probably generate many letters both pro and con. Mine will, happily, belong to the latter.

It is interesting that, of the many professionals cited in the article, not a few were Jewish (including the author, Mrs. Levinsohn). Roy Eckhardt, in his book Jews and Christians, has a footnote that states almost 50% of American Jews are affiliated with synagogues; the others, I would assume, are "cultural" Jews who attend a temple only on the High Holy days schizophrenically maintaining their agnostic or atheist positions the rest of the year. So to them, the Talmud's injunction that "Abortion is murder" is probably meaningless. Yet, I am sure, that these very same Jews would unequivocally condemn the Holocaust even though the moral premise behind that horror and the present day horror of abortion is the same i.e. the end justifies the means. Of course, the perceived end of America's abortion juggernaut, eg. abused children, maternal deaths, offspring of incest, congenital defects, etc. being prevented is beyond question. It's the means that creates controversy.

As for physicians like Dr. Sable, I guess he never took the Hippocratic oath (the pre-Roe one) that states "I will perform no abortions."

Catholic nuns like Sister Donna Quinn are certainly entitled to their opinion, but their obvious misandrist bias should be tempered by the aphorism "A Christian must carry something heavier on his/her shoulder than a chip."

Last spring, while I was working at Clemente High School, I remarked to one of the staff that the Hispanics in the U.S. are reproducing at a rate higher than any other ethnic group. His response? "That's why they should have more abortions." (He's Jewish.) In the six years I've known the man, I've never seen him smile even once; is it because he told me he has paid for several abortions himself? Perhaps. Later, when I told one of the students about this man, the teen replied "No wonder he doesn't smile."

In the 60's, one in ten couples were childless; now it's one in five. The sexual revolution and its subsequent large number of STDs are irrefutable proof that "you reap what you sow." How ironic that so many young women today abort their unwanted babies while those who desperately want them can't have them.

How despicably immoral that, in a nation wherein 16% of the people control 94% of the wealth, the rich will not part with a sufficient portion of their assets to ameliorate those social problems which abortion putatively solves. The false idols proscribed by Moses have been replaced by those of money, power, and sex. The rich should abjure the first two, all of us the third.

P. Sorokin, one-time chairman of Harvard's sociology department, wrote in his book, The Crisis of Our Age, that we are in a transition; idealism is replacing the materialism begun in the 19th century. Western civilization has gone through cycles of these two basic philosophies. During transitions, wars, irrationalism, crime, atavistic "art," etc. increase exponentially. Abortion may be a facet of this social chaos. Time will tell.

Tom Mitchell
N. Marshfield

Florence Hamlish Levinsohn replies:

I'm not surprised that someone with such confused views about so many things would resort to Jew-baiting. It is sad but true that ignorance and right-wing hysteria are often also anti-Semitic.

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