It belongs to the terrified childhood of our species, before we knew about germs or could account for earthquakes. It belongs to our childhood, too, in the less charming sense of demanding a tyrannical authority: a protective parent who demands compulsory love even as he exacts a tithe of fear.
You have to go back to Spiro Agnew and his bullyboy ventriloquists, Pat Buchanan and William Safire, to find this kind of sneering contempt for educated people.
What do we need to know to function in or create a Jewish home, to function in the synagogue, to function in Jewish communal life and to function in the world as a knowledgeable Jew? What should we know, feel and be able to do to be considered a literate Jew?
Has a question or statement about Israel ever caught you so off guard and tongue-tied that you wished you could just reach into your back pocket to pull out an answer?
When the U.S. House and Senate voted last week to pass resolutions authorizing the use of military force against Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, the domestic political debate surrounding the war issue was brought to rest, at least for the time being. But for many people across the nation and around the world, Congress' political decision merely fueled the heated ethical debate surrounding the legitimacy of waging such a war.
Like most converts, the Hardins take the precepts of their adopted faith more seriously than many born to it, and they display an intense hunger for knowledge, as if to make up for what they missed during their childhoods.