Sunday, December 21, 2008
A letter from a Holocaust survivor
University of California at Irvine
Cross-posted by Gary Fouse
On December 6, I posted a letter I had written for public dissemination on the on-going situation at UC-Irvine involving anti-Semitic hate speech by speakers sponsored by the campus Muslim Student Union (No Problem at UCI?). This letter was widely disseminated within the local Jewish community. Today, I received an e-mail response, which I am posting below, and which speaks for itself. It is responses like this that make it all worthwhile.
"Sorry I did not see this until today, since I left on vacation on Dec. 6. What can be done about this situation? None of us really has a solution. I am a Holocaust survivor. Came to this country as a 13 yr. old in 1936 to live with a foster family. You may not be aware that there is a website called:
One Thousand Children. I was one of those kids
Last year Chancellor Drake came to our University Synagogue to speak to an informal group in the Social Hall. He told us what is going on at the U. and kept reiterating that nothing can be done. Free Speech, he kept saying. The next day I sent him a letter, offering to head a group of families who would invite Jewish and Muslim students in small groups to our homes, so that they could have dialogue away from the school setting. He replied that it was a great idea, and he would have an assistant contact me. Needless to say, I was never contacted.
Did you send your very informative email to my rabbi, Arnold Rachlis, at University Synagogue? If not, I would urge you to do so. When Drake spoke at our synagogue, it appeared to us that he and our rabbi were good friends.
To close, it's very painful to me , as a refugee, to see what is going on at UCI. Yes, I so well remember the horrible pictures in the Stuermer and other papers. ---- By the way, you mention that you teach English as a second language. I spoke no English when I arrived in Cleveland Oh, and an English teacher at the Jr. Hi offered to give me lessons if I could come to school 1/2 hour early every morning. I bless her to this day. She taught me correct English! When I became an English major at Northridge U. (after my last child started school)I had A's throughout my school career and was asked to join the English Honors Seminar. Now I volunteer for the Merage Foundations as an assistant to two wonderful teachers of 4 yr. old children from disadvantaged families. I am constantly amazed how these little ones learn English so rapidly, when their "home" language is not spoken in class. They love books, and one of my main jobs is reading to them on a one-on-one basis. What a joy!
Thank you for your very insightful email."
* I would urge the reader to go to the One Thousand Children website and read this remarkable story.