Since I wrote my “Open Letter to my Anti-Semitic Professor” I have received an incredible amount of reactions from the Jewish community and beyond. Messages of love and support swarmed in from the most unusual of places: classmates came out and offered to speak up against my prof, legal consuls and Jewish organizations stepped up to helped me form a case and strangers offered me their kind words.
I sent my letter to the Dean at Glendon, Donald Ipperciel, an acquaintance I meet a couple of times during my schooling at Glendon College, York University. I was pleasantly surprised by his response, as not every Dean would reply as he did. Among his words the following were the ones that warmed me the most:
“I am deeply saddened by your story. No one should experience discrimination for their beliefs or for who they are…I would like to convey my apologies to you for what happened…[and] I agree with you: you have won. You stand proud and I share in your pride.”
Throughout the month, I was moved by how far my letter went, how much people were touched by it and I appreciate the responsibility I have now. That being said, a lot of people where frustrated and disappointed that I did not name the professor. Although I understand their annoyance, please know, this is the only way I will win my case. Sometimes we cannot see the reason why, but we must trust those who know better than ourselves to make the decisions that must be made, even if in the moment they seem wrong and unjust ; sometimes the patient road, is the one best taken. Do not worry, as I quoted in my open letter, “It is not me who should be anxious, it is you [my professor].” Because, this time, I’m coming for you, armed with the strength of my people and my ancestors. I am not filing the complaints. They are.
As he finishes his email, Principal Ipperciel writes: “I’d like to offer you a thought: for every hater and anti-Semite, please know that there are thousands and thousands that are on your side, morally supporting you. Whenever you hear a hater sputter his or her venom, please have a thought for all those who stand behind you. And please know that I am one of them.”
People today tend to say the world is at its worse and that humans are only getting more malicious and hateful. But I refuse to believe it. A friend once told me “Every social worker knows that this age, is the worse is has ever been” but every historian knows that this era, is one of the best. We cannot let the fear and the pain keep us from loving life and its inhabitants. There is beauty out there and there are beautiful people. The secret to finding them lies within you. You must decide if you want to see beauty, and only then will you. Look beyond the surface of what you can see, and you will find what it is you are looking for.
And remember, as a wise Rabbi once told me: Don’t let the world break you, let it build you instead.