CORRESPONDENCErnLetter FromrnInner Israelrnby Jacob NeusnerrnJews on Abortionrn”Mommy let me live!” screams the tastelessrnheadline of a pro-life ad, completernwith scary pictures of a baby’s diary;rn”May 1; Today my parents gave me therngift of life… . One week has passed andrnlook, I’m no longer a single cell,” and sornon through the year. Here are the concludingrnentries:rnJuly 24: Today I went with myrnmother to the abortion committee,rnand within minutes my fate wasrnsealed. At the committee no onernattempted to explain to my motherrnthe significance of the act she isrnabout to perform. I am convincedrnthat if they showed her a picture ofrnme, and she knew that I am essentiallyrncomplete in all aspects, shernwould not think of killing me. Julyrn25: The date when I am to die hasrnalready been set. But perhapsrnsomeone with compassion will stillrncome and explain to my motherrnwhat she is about to lose and givernher and me true happiness. Julyrn26: My mother received the noticernto come to the hospital tomorrowrnto perform the operation, and myrnlife in the last hours which remainrnFor Immediate ServicernCHRONICLESrn* * *rnNEW SUBSCRIBERSrnTOLL FREE NUMBERrn1-800-877-5459rnis to be ended with horrible instruments.rnThere is nothing left butrnfor me to plead to my mother forrnmy life: Mommy! Have pity onrnme! Spare me my life! I want tornlive.rnHere is uncompromising, brutal, powerfulrnpro-life advertising—four pages of it,rnin color, with photographs of the livingrnbaby in the mother’s womb—in a masscirculationrnnewspaper.rnNow, this is what we expect to find inrnChristian Coalition or in traditionalrnCatholic newspapers, but where did Irnfind it? In the Jerusalem Post, the English-rnlanguage daily published since prestaterntimes in Israel. This means that arnpowerful, forthright, and unapologeticrnpro-life voice has emerged within Judaismrntoo, not on the fringes, but at thernvery center, in Jerusalem (with representativesrnthroughout the world) and at thernheart of Orthodox Judaism. The organizationrnis called Efrat, “The InternationalrnOrganization for Saving Jewish Babies,”rnand according to the paper the organizationrnis “engaged in a struggle to preventrnthe intentional termination of pregnanciesrn. . . the story of Efrat is a wonderfulrnsuccess story of saving Jewish babies.”rnThe Jerusalem Post’s piece included storiesrnabout mothers who took risks to haverntheir babies, and how glad they are theyrndid; about the power of persuasion, withrnEfrat representatives arguing in favor ofrnlife; about Dr. Bernard Nathanson, thernJewish gynecologist and abortionist whornrepented and whose story is told in ThernSilent Scream.rnTrue, Efrat prefers information andrnguidance to demonstrations and violence.rnIts members—doctors, psychologists,rnsocial workers, rabbis, and publicrnfigures—approach mothers in the Staternof Israel who are considering abortionrnand who have come before hospital committeesrnfor permission. Their policy isrnsimple: “We cannot prevent a womanrnfrom having an abortion if she reallyrnwants one and is determined to gornahead. But it is our humanitarian andrnprofessional duty to explain to her all thernrepercussions of her actions. Knowledgernof all the facts will allow the woman tornmake the right choice.”rnEfrat (which is located at 10 HalluyrnSt., Jerusalem 91062, Israel) not onlyrnsaves fetuses from abortion but supportsrnexpectant mothers who find themselvesrnconstrained by poverty to abort their babies:rn”Efrat is certain that it is possible torngreatly reduce the unjustifiable slaughterrnof fetuses, if we all support this importantrninstitution whose sole aim is the rescuernof Jewish children. When womenrngive birth, Efrat is there with food, diapers,rnencouragement, and allowance.”rnWhat is quite remarkable about Efratrnis what it does not do: it does not appealrnto that eternal presence in Jewish life, thernholocaust. Efrat does not tell the storiesrnof the million Jewish children put torndeath in the German catastrophe, norrndoes it formulate its message in the languagernof “not handing Hitler any morernvictories,” even though voluntarilyrnkilling Jewish children is precisely whatrnthe Germans of that period undertook.rnIts purpose is stated plainly in positivernlanguage: “to rescue Jewish children.”rnBut in the present context, the languagernof “rescue” bears its own subtext. Evenrnmore remarkable is that its leadership encompassesrnOrthodox Rabbis and layrnpeople throughout the world, and the organizationrnclearly calls for its deepest rationalernupon the sanctity of life thatrnmarks the religion, Judaism. This is notrnthe face that much of Western Judaismrnshows the wodd, but the fault does notrnlie with Judaism.rnThe religion makes its statement, andrnappealing to the Torah—not merely tornworldly utility or to secular memory—^Judaismrnmotivates Efrat and similar organizationsrnto do the work that the faithrnmust deem sacred: a true mitzvah, an actrnof religious piety. And then, speaking forrnthemselves as individuals, numerousrnJews will gladly tell you, “Judaism is proabortion,”rnthough the language they preferrnis “pro-choice.” National Jewish organizations,rnboth secular and religious,rnalign themselves with the abortionrncause, and the single most powerfulrnbranch of Judaism in the United States,rnReform Judaism, is explicit on the matter.rnSecular organizations take the samernview. Ethnic Jews take an active role inrnthe entire phalanx of abortionist organizationsrnand institutions, and in manyrncases they appeal to their ethnic origin asrnan explanation for their devotion torn”choice.”rnHow are people to make sense of thesern36/CHRONICLESrnrnrn