dangers, and “each case [is] to be judgedrnon its own merits by medical and rabbinicalrncounseling.” But Riskin is explicit:rn”When no mitigating circumstancesrnexist, and the proposed abortion proves tornbe only a desire to get rid of an inconvenience,rnJewish law . . . clearly forbids therntaking of potential life.”rnThat is, pure and simple, the view ofrnJudaism on abortion on demand, feticide,rn”pro-choice,” and a variety of otherrnissues concerning the sanctity of life. Judaismrnis a life-affirming religious traditionrnmaintaining that the human being isrn”in God’s image” not only after emergingrnfrom the womb but from the 40th dayrnwithin the womb. That position is notrnidentical to the Roman Catholic andrnEastern Orthodox view, but it is entirelyrncongruent. Accordingly, when we hearrnthat “Judaism” affirms the “right” ofrnwomen to abort their babies, the correctrntheological response is simple: Some,rnperhaps many, Jews may take that position,rnbut the authoritative voice of Judaismrn—the Torah as mediated by therngreat sages through time —recognizes nornsuch right, because the Torah affirmsrnlife, and, specifically and explicitly, thernright to life of the fetus in the womb.rnThe 20th century was marked byrndeath on a cosmopolitan scale. We Jews,rnof course, have suffered disproportionatelyrn(or so it seems to us; the Cambodiansrnhave good reason to disagree, as do thernArmenians). With one million dead onrnthe Marne and two million before Verdun,rnwith seven million starved to deathrnin the Ukraine and 20 million Soviet citizensrndead in World War II (not to mentionrnthe millions of Chinese wantonlyrnkilled by the Japanese during World WarrnII and the hundreds of thousands ofrnJapanese who died in atomic explosionsrnand the millions more who died in battle)rn—the list goes on and on—with allrnthat killing, one mass murder more orrnless will scarcely make the case more persuasive.rnThe affirmation of life in thernface of death should define the criticalrnexistential task.rn]acob Neusner is Research Professor ofrnReligion and Theology at Bard College.rnCrackpotsrnby Gail WhiternI have a friend who wants to restore the Czar.rnSeriously. As if this burst of lovernwould turn the empty streets of Petersburgrninto a set for Boris Godunov.rnHe thinks a royalist Russia would delightrnin festivals, would never drop the bomb.rnAnd you can find him on the internetrnat getaczar dot com.rnHow to protect my friend, who might have beenrna national treasure once, almost a saint?rnI only wish there were an NEArnwith grants for the incorrigibly quaint,rnor Shelters for the Harmlessly Obsessedrn(unworldly, therefore not completely sane).rnWithout its nest, the Great or Common Crackpotrnmay never breed again.rnLetter From Hawaiirnby Brandon BosworthrnConfiscate ‘Em, Dane!rnHawaii is a liberal state. Despite beingrnheavily Catholic, it was the first state to legalizernabortion. There is no death penalty,rnor even life sentences. Labor unionsrnstill wield considerable power. ThernDemocratic Party enjoys one of its mostrnsolid majorities in the country. Most ofrnthe few Republicans in elected office arernbarely to the right of the Democrats.rnBut there is discontent in the air.rnThe first sign of rebellion came in thernwake of the state supreme court decisionrnthat opened the door for possible gayrn”marriages.” The court ruled that thernstate constitution did not bar thesernunions. If Hawaii wanted to continue tornrecognize only marriages between a manrnand a woman, the law would have to bernchanged or clarified. The legislature wasrnsqueamish about changing the constitution,rnand there were the usual accusationsrnof “homophobia” and “bigotry” directedrnat those who defended traditionalrnmarriages. The politicians thought thatrnthe enlightened people of Hawaii wouldrnsupport granting new rights to homosexuals.rnThey were wrong.rnIn 1998, the issue was put on the ballot.rnVoters were asked if the legislaturernshould change the wording of the constitutionrnto ensure that marriage remainedrna heterosexual institution. DespiternHawaii’s reputation for “tolerance” andrnall the money that poured in from out-ofstaterngay activists to defeat the initiative,rnover 75 percent of voters favored amendingrnthe law to recognize only traditionalrnmarriages.rnOver the past year, the state legislaturernhas further provoked popular anger. Onernconcerned lawmaker, apparently underrnthe misguided impression that state employeesrnare under too much stress, proposedrna law mandating snack and naprntime for local public-sector workers. AlthoughrnHawaii is historically very prounionrn(which made the quest for statehoodrnthat much harder during the RedrnScare of the 1950’s), the letters sections ofrnHonolulu’s two daily newspapers werernswamped with correspondence from an-rn36/CHRONICLESrnrnrn