Nov 22, 2009

Naomi Frenkel, bd"h

I don't normally put up obituaries - the death of a personality is a news item that you can get from reading any newspaper, and there is no need for me to mention it.
This one sounds unusually interesting, as it seems her life was very unusual and I just want to point it out.

Nomy Frenkel passed away yesterday at the age of 91. Frenkel was an author, who wrote novels depicting what Germany was like with the rise of Hitler to power.

What is interesting about Frenkel is the extreme's she brought into her life. She was born to parents who both had religious backgrounds, but themselves had not been religious, and had been socialists.

After making aliyah at a young age, after her mother died, she eventually lived on a kibbutz, Kibbutz Beit Alpha, that was a stronghold of Marxism.

It seems she did not get along well with the kibbutz, but lived there for a long time. Eventually she joined the navy.

At a later stage, in 1982, she changed her spots completely and went to the other extreme, moving to Chevron and then later to Kiryat Arba.

I found this interesting interview from 2004 on Arutz 7, from the B'Sheva newspaper, with Frenkel in which she sheds light on some of her life.

The switch from one extreme to the other is what fascinates me. Most people change their views over the course of a lifetime, but the adjustments are fairly minor. Slight lifestyle changes, and even if the changes are great, it is generally only certain aspects of their life, while much of their worldview will remain the same or similar to what it was. Frenkel did not just adjust her life from being a leftist to right wing, but from extreme left to extreme right. At the same time, from secular to religious. And not just staying in Tel Aviv or moving to a religious area, but moving to Chevron-Kiryat Arba.

t'hei zichra baruch


  1. Political commentator Michael Medved also made similar changes, as told in his autobiography Right Turns.

    He grew up totally secular, his parents both belonging to American Shomrai HaTza'ir, and was an Ivy League late 60s liberal activist. Starting making changes in the 70s and 80s moving to the right both politically and religiously and is now a conservative political commentator, and shomer Shabbos.

    An interesting read. I gain nothing from plugging his book. I just thought it was a fascinating story.

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  3. BD"H. I once new a guy that was a bobever chassid. Davened Mincha for the amud(with all the elkanee's). Finished saying Aleinu. Took off all his garb - on the spot - including his kippah. And to this day (as far as I know)is not even religious!
    Not sure what it is, but people definitley go to extremes in life....


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