Several old Jews huddled on a bench near an arcade.

With their seemingly perpetual display of loathing, despair, and bitter

mockery, they might have been drawn by an enterprising cartoonist.

No doubt worn out by endless argument, they sat in

silence, chewing tobacco and staring out into space as if

they read the future and fatalistically accepted what it foretold.

A religious Jew named Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Yatom was staging

a hunger strike in front of a brick clock tower.

The man was threatening to starve himself to death unless

the excommunication of the late philosopher Baruch Spinoza was rescinded.

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Paraphrases from the novel A Perfect Peace by Amos Oz.

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