We Were The Lucky Ones...

Good morning and happy Passover (Wikipedia on Passover) to my friends celebrating the holiday.

My brother and sister in law had a seder for 45 family members and friends and we were extra appreciative of the evening.

This past weekend, Ellen and I binge watched the first six episodes of ‘We Were The Lucky Ones’.

It is an adaptation of the 2017 book of the same name by Georgia Hunter, inspired by the story of her own family.

It depicts the Holocaust from the perspective of the Kurc family, Polish Jews.

Prior to World War II, the Kurcs, a Polish Jewish family, lived successful and relatively peaceful lives in Radom. Their success protected them from some of the virulent anti-semitism in the country. Their protection does not last as Hitler's persecution of European Jewry intensified. Some members of the family find themselves in hiding and in concentration camps. Other members of the family managed to escape to France, Brazil, West Africa and Russia. Once the war ends, survivors from the family attempt to discover any living relatives and reunite

Please do watch this excellent Hulu series and try and get your children to watch it. This story and the Holocaust are just 80 years old.

The last few days, the smug, soulless and cowardice ones have lost control of their universities including Columbia, MIT, Yale and Berkley.

Bari Weiss is doing a great job covering the madness and cowardice taking place at these university campuses. Jewish people are being assaulted on these campuses for being jews.

At Columbia, Jonathan Lederer has been trying to stand up to the smug, soulless cowardice protestors. He has been told to ‘Go Back To Poland’. Have a read…

At least two solid objects were thrown at me from close range, one of which hit me directly in the face and the other in the chest. Finally, I succeeded in grabbing my flags and ran to rejoin my friends. We ended up being chased out of campus and told to “go back to Poland,” a poignant reminder that even in America, antisemites wish to condemn Jews like me to our ancestors’ tragic fate.

Those were not the only things that were chanted over the past 48 hours at my school.

Students walking by the main library, Butler, might have heard “From the river to the sea, Palestine is Arab!” or “There is no god but Allah, and the martyr is Allah’s beloved!” Anyone walking near the gates on Broadway and 116th probably heard them yelling, “Al-Qassam make us proud, kill another soldier now!” Ironically, the students who have taken over our south lawn are describing Columbia as a “Zionist stronghold.” 

Throughout this entire ordeal, Columbia’s public safety officers were nowhere to be found. The NYPD is not allowed on campus unless specifically asked by administration—and as Mayor Eric Adams made clear today, they have not been asked. We were on our own. 

All of this led one of the rabbis on campus, Elie Buechler, to send a note to the school’s Orthodox community this morning urging students to leave early for Passover: 

What we are witnessing in and around campus is terrible and tragic. The events of the last few days, especially last night, have made it clear that Columbia University’s Public Safety and the NYPD cannot guarantee Jewish students’ safety in the face of extreme antisemitism and anarchy. It deeply pains me to say that I would strongly recommend you return home as soon as possible and remain home until the reality in and around campus has dramatically improved.

As for me, I will not stop waving my flags. It is up to Columbia president Minouche Shafik and the rest of the administration to decide whether this means I will be a victim of assault again, or whether she will take all necessary actions to remove the pro-terror mob on campus, and ensure that no other Jew will be assaulted for being proud of his Judaism.

They pointed their middle fingers at me and yelled “Free Palestine,” and the taunting continued until a six-foot-something male protester holding a Palestinian flag waved the flag in my face and then stabbed me with it in my left eye.

My assailant was masked and wearing a keffiyeh, concealing his identity. He also wore glasses and a black jacket. I started to yell and chase after him, but the wall of students continued to block me as I screamed. Next, I went to the Yale police, but they offered little in the way of assistance. They told me that their orders came from administrators who weren’t present at the demonstration, and that there were only seven officers to handle a crowd of about 500. So I was checked out by an ambulance EMT, who recommended I go to the hospital.

The midnight demonstration, the encampment, the violence, all of it violates Yale policy. Some of it, like my assault, also violates state and federal law. Yet nothing meaningful seems to happen in response. Given Yale’s permissiveness, I had the sinking feeling that someone would get hurt. I just didn’t expect it to be me. 

I felt pressure where the stick of the flag had hit my left eye and had a headache last night and much of today. I’m okay now, though. But last night, sitting in the hospital, I couldn’t help but think of my mother, Shahnaz, who grew up in Iran. Her neighbors threw rocks at her for being a Jew. She has a scar on her eyelid to this day. 

I won’t speak for Ellen or my kids here - this is my blog and my words - but if you know me and read me, you know that I always feel like ‘the lucky one’.

I am supposed to be successful.

I am supposed to be nice.

I know right from wrong.

We should pay our good fortune forward.

Ellen and I have drummed this beat to Rachel and Max and we will continue to do so.

Against this Passover holiday backdrop, the campus news of the last few days is frightening and sickening. On the heels of watching ‘We Were The Lucky Ones’, It feels like campus leaders and our political leaders are dangerously ignorant of history. They should be ashamed of themselves and I appreciate the students and faculty that are not cowering to these awful mobs.


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