song and legend is all alone, he is at bestrna poweriess eccentric and at worst an unwittingrnagent provocateur; but if, like thernEnglishman I met that afternoon in London,rnhe is one of many, he is a vital signrnof his culture and a microcosm of what itrnoffers the newcomer. My point is thatrnthe misconceived, ultimately self-destructivernwar for higher readership numbersrnamong Britain’s newspapers is upendingrnthe autonomous nooks andrncrannies which those who used to makernthe difference in literary London inhabitrnin their hundreds.rnWhat, until a few years ago, was arncomplex, polygonal, internally contradictory,rnand feudal system of editorial relationshipsrnamong and within the mainrnquality broadsheets now resembles arnstruggle for total dominance between thern”empires” (meaning, in stark contrast tornthe KGB, the Internal Revenue Service,rnor the New York Times Company, nothingrnmore menacing than “newspapers”)rnof Messrs. Murdoch and Black, with therndying Independent as everybody’s punching-rnbag and the fantastically successful,rncenter-left Guardian magisteriallv abovernthe fray. In this, I sincerely believe, thernGuardian is now presaging its own futurernrole as the lone survivor of the war, andrnhence Britain’s future New York Times,rnbecause in matters of intellectual monopolizingrn(a lesson apparently lost onrnMessrs. Murdoch and Black) victory isrnnot to the swift nor to the widely read butrnto those who bide their time and neverrnput the Spice Girls on the front page.rnMr. Murdoch will lose in the end, andrnso will Mr. Black. Insofar as they continuernto ignore the fundamental truth thatrneditors, journalists, and writers —not discountsrnand coupons—are what sells, neitherrndeserves to own a serious newspaper.rnThe struggle for “readers” in whichrnthey are engaged to the death is so muchrnshadow-boxing, because frivolous andrnstupid people (who, from the advertisers’rnpoint of view, are also poor) would alwaysrnrather spend their time watchingrnChristians being fed to the lions thanrnreading Quo Vadis, not to say Gibbon.rnThose who pander to their vulgar desiresrnmay succeed financially, as Mr. Murdochrnhas succeeded where overt and utterrnpulp is concerned. But to have majorrninfluence is clearly an altogether differentrnobjective, one unattainable by purelyrncommercial means. Despite this, bothrnMr. Murdoch and Mr. Black have beenrnseeking to attain it by purely commercialrnmeans for their respective flagships sincerntheir war began.rnMeanwhile, as a direct result of thernwar, the cultural landscape has alreadyrnbeen dulled almost beyond recognition.rnThe editor, the journalist, and the writerrnare the obvious losers. That the ignorantrnarchitects of their misfortune will be thernlosers in the long term is small consolationrnto anybody. As for me, I seem tornhave nothing with which to comparernBritish publishing any longer when thernItalians across the table ask why I chosernto settle in England. What would yournsuggest I say, for crying out loud?rnSpaghetti-0’s?rnAndrei Navrozov, fonnerly Chronicles’rnpoetry editor and London correspondent,rnis now Chronicles’ European correspondent.rnLetter FromrnInner Israelrnby Jacob NeusnerrnThe Politics of ReformrnThe Day of Atonement by its very adventrnat sunset on the eve of the tenth of the lunarrnmonth of Tishre atones for sin andrninvolves repentance — regret for sin, resolutionrnnot to repeat it—prayer, and fasting.rnNot the rites of the day, the prayersrnof the day, and not the act of refrainingrnfrom food, drink, and sex, but the adventrnof the day itself bears that remarkablernpower. Jews who othenvise do not practicernthe rites of Judaism observe the prohibitionsrnof the day and find their way tornthe synagogue.rnThe advent of the holy day, this yearrnon September 30th, called to mind thernpractice of many synagogues of givingrnseats beside the holy ark, where thernTorahs are guarded, to persons whomrnthe synagogue community wishes notrnonly to honor but to set as living icons, asrnmodels of virtue, before the sight of thernassembled faithful.rnNo one familiar with the aesthetic gloriesrnof Orthodox Christianity will take offensernat the resort to living icons. Butrnthen, the repertoire of candidates willrnconvey a signal too. Last year a Reformrnsynagogue in New York City, CentralrnSynagogue, announced on Yom Kippurrnthat it was planning a special Shabbatrnservice in honor of Marion Wright Edelmanrnand the Children’s Defense Fund.rnIn response to that choice, a congregantrn—a longtime friend of mine —rnframed better than I have seen anywherernelse the objections to the left-wing politicalrnJudaism that Reform synagogues promote,rnmeaning the invocation of religionrnin the service of bitter partisanrncauses of the far reaches of otherwisernatheist socialism. He sent to Rabbi PeterrnRubinstein, the Central Synagogue’srnspiritual leader, a whole catalogue of objections:rnThe Children’s Defense Fund is arndeeply political organization,rnwhich is a constant advocate for increasedrngovernment programs, programsrnthat are oftentimes miserablernfailures. [These include:]rnVaccines for Children and Clinton-rnCare: The Children’s DefensernFund was one of the earliest proponentsrnof the flawed and failed Vaccinesrnfor Children program inrn1995. The Balanced BudgetrnAmendment: The Children’s DefensernFund was a major opponentrnof the Balanced Budget Amendmentrnin 1996.. .. Leaving our kidsrnto pay our debts in the name ofrnchildren is a dubious proposition.rnWelfare Reform: Marion WrightrnEdelman has been a staunch opponentrnof any effort to reform welfare.rnIn these and in other positionsrnMarion Wright Edelman hasrnsought to assume the moral highrnground by self-righteously speakingrnin the name of children to constantlyrnpromote and defend governmentrnprograms . . . by usingrnchildren as the battering ram of thernwelfare state, her appeal is basedrn. . . on the confusion of intentionsrnwith consequences.rnWould that this were an isolatedrnincident. Unfortunately, it is partrnof a dishirbing pattern at CentialrnSynagogue and much of institutionalrnleadership of the Reformrnmovement, which, in the name ofrn”social justice,” slides into thernpocket of the liberal-left and an intenselyrnpolitical ethos. Usually thernpolitical tendencies of the Reformrnmovement are left to referenda atrn34/CHRONICLESrnrnrn