Informational discussion at Judaic forum

Jeniece RomanGeneral Assignment Reporter

The first Forum on Judaism was held on Wednesday, Sept. 28 in the Adanti Student Center Ballroom.

The Southern Connecticut State University Faculty Senate in partnership with the Judaic studies program hosted the forum; one of several that the Faculty Senate plans to present in an effort to increase awareness of diversity on campus.

“If we come to understand more deeply each others religions, races, cultures and sexual orientations. We will feel more comfortable with each other and hopefully respect than fear those differences,” said Deborah Weiss, a professor and Steering Committee chairperson, who introduced the list of speakers.

Weiss said the decision from the Faculty Senate to present a Forum on Judaism came after students reported they found swastikas drawn in the bathrooms last semester. However, Weiss said they did not want the incident to be the only thing that defined the forum.

“People ask me all the time, well how do you change? How do we learn, how do we grow? It’s learning empathy, it’s hearing each other’s stories,” said Marji Lipshez-Shapiro, senior associate director of Anti Defamation League.

Lipshez-Shapiro spoke about her experience teaching others about Judaism. She presented the Voices of Anti-Semitism, a demonstration that had audience members volunteer to read quotes from student that have experience anti-Semitism.

Jenna Malkin, a senior at Quinnipiac University, is a trainer at ADL, Confronting Anti Semitism Program read an essay she wrote entitled, “Anti-Semitism: A Student’s Perspective.”

“Because I am Jewish, more often than not I have to choose between celebrating my holidays with my family or worry about missing important material and teachers giving me a hard time and going to class,” said Malkin.

She said she has walked into a room and been scared to let others know that she is Jewish. Malkin said she hopes people never know how it feels to be a complete outsider but she wanted people to understand that as a Jewish girl she did.

“That is something I carry around with me everyday and with every strange look and empty comment that feeling of isolation grows deeper and deeper,” said Malkin. “That is a lot to carry.”

Photo Courtesy: Faculty Senate in partnership with the Judaic Studies Program


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