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Finkelstein to fast this Yom Kippur

The professor who cannot stop his vicious self-hatred has been mothballed by DePaul. When he was denied tenure, it was only a matter of time. According to the Chicago Tribune, his name initially appeared on the class list and then was removed. DePaul placed him on paid leave for the entire year, but Norman will have nothing of it.

Finkelstein told the [Tribune] that he planned to wage his own campaign against the administration.

“I intend to go to my office on the first day of classes and, if my way is barred, to engage in civil disobedience,” Finkelstein said. “If arrested, I’ll go on a hunger strike. If released, I’ll do it all over again. I’ll fast in jail for as long as it takes.”

Classes start on September 5th. Assuming that Norman does go to his former office on Sept. 5th, he could in theory sit there the whole day until business hours are over. According to the Illinois Compiled Statues (720 ILCS 5/21-3) (from Ch. 38, par. 21-3) a person can legally enter a public building, and if not bothering anyone, can stay. Ever if he were to stay there after they close, most likely the worst offense is a class A or B criminal misdemeanor. Hardly the kind of thing that gets you locked up in jail long enough to have a hunger strike.

In order to really get locked up for a longer period of time, he would have to do something more drastic and take a bigger risk than just trespassing. He could refuse to speak, and be completely non-cooperative. If there is a court order barring him from DePaul, and he trespasses, that could put him in more hot water. If he were to break into his old office, that would be even harsher.

I don’t really see him sitting in jail for more than a few hours, since they have better things to do in Chicago than allow this dude to make a hunger strike, when they have violent criminals that need cell-space.

If Norman is serious about a hunger strike—hardly the kind of thing to do if you hope to get hired at any school—then the hunger strike will have to be at DePaul to get any attention. And figuring that the arrest and release and arrest cycle plays out a few times, it could very be that come September 21st, Norm might be fasting somewhere.

The Halacha is Norman that if a person fasts on Yom Kippur without kavanna (that is Hebrew for conscious intent) that the fast is for Yom Kippur and repentance, they still receive the benefit of the fast.

Instead of seeking vengeance — consider doing some introspection as to why you ende

d up in this place. Instead of continuing to blame the Zionists and Dershowitz for your troubles, try taking some responsibility for your actions. DePaul didn’t give you tenure because of your unbecoming pugilistic nature, not respecting other views, and getting into personal and vicious arguments on the national stage. (And not because you lack language skills or poor scholarship.)


As we prepare for Rosh Hashanah, the gates of repentance are open to you at every moment. It is precisely when a person has reached a critical stage, that they are sometimes able to look and see the error of their ways.

1 reply
  1. Mamamitzvah
    Mamamitzvah says:

    What goes around comes around! When I was in college (during the days of the abacus LOL) we started out being very apathetic Jews. After the ’67 War, many of us became interested in Yiddishkeit through understanding a bit more about Israel. Jews became unashamed to admit they were Jews. We were not quite knowledgeable enough to say we were proud. That did come later for those of us who channeled our newly discovered love of Israel into being shomer Mitzvos. We suddenly became the face of American Jews for a brief shining moment. The incredible rates of Americans making Aliyah translated in a boom for Israel. It also left America with a great many Finklesteins..you should pardon the expression. Most have family who have been in America since the late 1800s or early 1900s. Their assimilation instead of abating when ours did, became more entrenched and now they have returned to being the face of American Jewry. I wish I could despise them, but I pity them and daaven (pray) for their tschuva (return). I pray that somehow a glimmer of a spark will touch their hardened hearts and a small tear will appear where there is now hate and misunderstanding of Jewishness.
    We must all pray for them. As funny as it is that this man might end up fasting on Yom Kippur, it is tragic that his first mitzvah will be in such a round about fashion.
    What ever country we call home, we all must pray that every one of us sees the truth and strives to attain it.
    May we all earn and recognize a Gamar Tov. (A Good Close to the year and beginning of next)

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