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(Photo from Flash90)
(Photo from Flash90)

10/27 victim-family ‘disappointed’ with proposed memorial design
Ever since the initial stages of the reveal to the Memorialization Working Group (MWG) of the proposed 10/27 memorial design and theme, I and my family have been adamantly opposed to its dull and lackluster form of memorialization to my parents and the nine other victims of 10/27. I would even go so far as to call it an “embarrassment” to their memories (“10/27 memorial to be built on unity, not unanimity,” Dec. 8).

This proposed “memorial” is a major disappointment on many levels. This minimalistic design does nothing to evoke inspirational feelings nor independent reflection of the event, does not promote personal thought, and lacks visual appeal and draw.

The proposed design has no relationship or tie-in to 10/27 and what occurred, nor to antisemitism. Furthermore, nobody — especially into the future — is going to care one iota about what my parents (or any of the nine other victims) liked to do in their lives, e.g., cook, garden, travel, etc., as will be inscribed into the individual focal point “books of life” kiosks. The only ones who will care are their own family members alive today. By the time a visitor gets to the fourth kiosk, they will be totally bored with what they are reading in those “books of life.” People don’t travel to a memorial to be schooled regarding someone’s “likes.” People go to be inspired and to have an opportunity for unfettered personal reflection and thought based upon the design. This current design promotes neither.

My opinion of the proposed memorial is not meant in any manner as a reflection on Studio Libeskind for this minimalistic design and shallow concept. Studio Libeskind has shown the MWG several examples of wonderful and appropriate memorials it has designed in other locations throughout the world. The studio was surely directed by Tree of Life, Inc. with a specific budget to work within.

Where does the blame lie for such a minimalistic and inappropriate memorial design? As a member of the MWG — which is composed of victim-family members as well as congregational representatives — I, on several occasions throughout the brainstorming process, frequently requested that other designs from other artists be solicited by the MWG. This type of design-decision process has been utilized in many venues throughout the country that have experienced similar tragedies. Unfortunately, this option was not supported and pursued by the MWG. When it became apparent to me that Studio Libeskind was the preferred designer, I requested more than one design/theme/concept from them. Again, my request for overall alternate designs/themes/concepts was not supported by the MWG. There were only some minor design enhancements offered to the already-established theme of the “books of life.”

To me, this “memorial” is a total embarrassment and insult to the lives and memories of our loved ones.

Marc Simon
Washington, Pennsylvania

Feckless college presidents
So, the three presidents of “prestigious” universities would not act on their students’ calls for genocide of Jews — unless violence comes from those calls? (“Harvard, MIT and Penn presidents grilled on antisemitism at congressional hearing,” Dec. 6, online).

No surprise here. Colleges are a hotbed for extreme ideology, and Harvard, University of Pennsylvania and MIT are no exception. Someone should ask Harvard President Claudine Gay, or Penn’s now-former President Liz Magill, or MIT President Sally Kornbluth if they would act on students chanting for the deaths of Black people, or any other minority group, before any physical acts of violence occur. They indicated they would not do that for Jewish students. Someone should ask these women why they are allowing their students to essentially advocate for rape, murder and torture. How would they feel if they were Hamas’ victims? And these three presidents are just the public face of academia. Many more college presidents feel the same way or are condoning this behavior. They are weak, feckless and do not wish to take on their students or faculty.

There are easy solutions to this problem. First of all, eliminate all government funding to pay for college education. This will force these schools to make some hard decisions. Our tax dollars will no longer support hate speech against Jews or anyone else. Second, abolish tenure so that professors are accountable for what and how they teach. Third, there should be a 50% tax on all overseas donations to these schools. This will hinder hostile regimes from making large donations.

Finally Jewish alum should cut off donations to these schools. Jewish parents should be looking at schools that are safe for their children to attend — mostly Jewish colleges and universities. We as Jews need to be proud, courageous, stand up for ourselves and “do more Jewish.”

Andrew Neft
Upper St. Clair

Editor’s note: Following backlash after last week’s congressional hearing on antisemitism, Claudine Gay released a statement saying that calls for violence against Jews, or any other religious or ethnic group, have no place at Harvard. Liz Magill also released a statement saying a that a call for the genocide of Jewish people would be considered harassment or intimidation at Penn. As of press time, Sally Kornbluth had not released a statement on her testimony.

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