Being Jewish at Towson
Regarding “Hillel directors warily eye the start of school” (Aug. 12):
Reading about Hillel at Towson University’s plans for Rosh Hashanah brought memories of my attendance when it was Towson State Teachers College and had just started a two-year Liberal Arts AA degree. This was in the 1950s. There were few Jewish students. To be excused from absence on the High Holy Days, we signed our names on a lined yellow sheet of paper pinned to a bulletin board outside the president’s office. I seem to remember names were only about halfway down the sheet.
I was a commuter student along with one of my high school friends. Because of the length and complexity of our commute, we were allowed to room together on campus in the girls dormitory in our second semester. We were the only Jews. Fellow students came to see us — what did a Jew look like? They were taught horrible images — the one that Jews had horns. Once remembering us from classroom experiences, we developed friendships. They loved times when my parents brought corned beef sandwiches.
Avi the mensch
Regarding “For some, Avi West was the perfect teacher” (Aug. 12):
Your testimonials to the life and career of master educator Avi West are much appreciated. There is one aspect of Avi that I thought needed some additional amplification. So many who know him were saddened by Avi’s passing. Avi lived and breathed Jewish values with joy and vision, tension and possibility. He greeted everybody he met with a huge smile and a genuine desire to get to know more about them.
In the year and a half I worked with him at the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning and the successive years I knew him, I never saw Avi get mad or yell at someone, even when hugely disappointed with the situation or the individual’s response. Avi spoke respectfully, engaged in a common-sense discussion and always honored the humanity in every soul he encountered. The true way we can honor how Avi lived is to be like him — to see the holiness in each individual, to be an oseh shalom (a peacemaker) and to help others fulfill their Jewish visions and dreams.
Bring ice cream back to the Jewish Quarter
Barry Dwork’s letter defending Ben & Jerry’s (“Two scoops for two cones,” Aug. 19) contains factual errors while ignoring the stated intent of the Ben & Jerry’s independent board. He refers to Ben & Jerry’s as simply “taking non-violent action against West Bank settlers.” The children living in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem are not “West Bank settlers.”
Anuradha Mittal, the chair of the Ben & Jerry’s board, made clear her dismay that it was forced by its parent company to water down its intent to completely boycott Israel.