web analytics
October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

My Brother After All


Ten years ago I was newly married, newly immigrated to Israel, and newly enrolled as a Masters student at an Israeli University. In most of my classes I was the only Orthodox student, and at least once a semester every professor could be counted on to make a derogatory comment or two about Jews like me. We were hypocritical, primitive, etc.

The situation took a turn for the worse when I met “Professor Z.” (In accordance with the Jewish prohibition against speaking lashon hara, slander, I have changed all of the professor’s identifying details.)

His class was a year-long seminar on the Sociology of Israeli Society. The class was unusually small with only twelve students – five Arabs, six secular Israelis, and me.

When the professor walked into our first class, I smiled. He had a friendly face, was wearing a jeans jacket and a Yankees cap, and spoke Hebrew with a thick Ameri-can accent that matched my own. What a relief! Someone like me.

But the professor was not like me. From the very first class, every single lecture inevitably ended up with the professor lashing out against the religious, and with the students invariably following the professor’s lead. Before long, the seminar took on the tone of a bunch of friends spending a slow Saturday night drinking beer, eating sun-flower seeds, and bashing the evil Orthodox.

And I remained silent. I was new to traditional Judaism myself, so I didn’t know how to respond. I was also probably instinctively following my mother’s wise advice to stand like a statue when approached by a barking dog. But in this case, my stillness didn’t make anyone go away.

Every week it was something different. One time, the professor informed us that the Israeli Rabbinate was the most corrupt institution in Israel (it is, by the way, not even in the running.) Another time, the Jewish people would be better off if all yeshivas were closed. Yet another time, the Orthodox were like cavemen living in the Stone Age.

I would call my husband after every class to share the upsetting things the professor had said. My husband was always shocked at how inappropriate and ridiculous the professor’s comments were, but before long both of us would be laughing about them.

It was no laughing matter, however, when one week the professor pointed at me and said, “You were probably happy when Prime Minister Rabin was murdered, just like all of the religious people!” When I replied with a stunned and sincere, “God forbid!” he answered with a cynical smirk that implied I was lying through my teeth.

With that comment, a switch went off inside me. The professor had basically told me: I hate religious people. And that means I hate you too. That it was another Jew doing the hating didn’t make it any easier.

From that point on, I experienced every one of the professor’s anti-religious comments as a bullet targeted in my direction. Wednesday nights, I would lie in bed for hours, tossing and turning and worrying about the next day’s seminar. What would the professor say this time? I imagined going to the professor during his office hours and screaming, “If I were the only black student in a class of white students, would you dare do this to me?”

At long last, the year ended. Soon after I graduated, I heard the professor had moved back to the United States to head the Sociology department of a major university. I was happy I would never have to see him again, but I remained angry for years afterward.

Five years ago, through our common involvement in a voluntary organization, I became friendly with the pro-fessor responsible for dealing with student complaints about professorial misconduct at the university where I’d studied. One day I opened my heart to her and related my suffering at the hands of the professor. She acknowledged his behavior was totally inappropriate and said that had she known about it, she would have paid him an official visit and told him so.

Her words enabled me, after so many years, to let go. I never forgave the professor. But at least I forgot about him. It was a good feeling.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “My Brother After All”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Broken headstones and monuments in the Mount of Olives cemetery.
Arab Desecrate Mount of Olives Cemetery Again
Latest Indepth Stories
British Flag

{Originally posted on author’s site, Liberty Unyielding} Never let a crisis go to waste. That’s the mantra – and a new development in Britain demonstrates how the Western left lives by it, and contributes thereby to the destruction of Western culture. Alert readers will remember the so-called “Trojan Horse plot” in Birmingham, first reported in […]

quiet

Introverts are more likely to pause, view the world from a distance, and think how to make it better

Lewis-102414-Nachal-Hareidi

I couldn’t see why I was different from Israeli boys my age. I too wanted to defend our country.

Eller-102414-Cart

I had to hire a babysitter so that I could go shopping or have someone come with me to push Caroline in her wheelchair.

Widespread agreement in Israel opposing Palestinian diplomatic warfare, commonly called “lawfare.”

Arab terrorism against Jews and the State of Israel is not something we should be “calm” about.

The Israeli left, led by tenured academics, endorses pretty much anything harmful to its own country

We were devastated: The exploitation of our father’s murder as a vehicle for political commentary.

Judea and Samaria (Yesha) have been governed by the IDF and not officially under Israeli sovereignty

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

n past decades, Oman has struck a diplomatic balance between Saudi Arabia, the West, and Iran.

The Torah scroll which my family donated will ride aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier

The Jewish Press endorses the reelection of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His record as governor these past four years offers eloquent testimony to the experience and vision he has to lead the Empire State for the next four years.

I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.

More Articles from Chana Jenny Weisberg

Ten years ago I was newly married, newly immigrated to Israel, and newly enrolled as a Masters student at an Israeli University. In most of my classes I was the only Orthodox student, and at least once a semester every pro-fessor could be counted on to make a derogatory comment or two about Jews like me. We were hypocritical, primi-tive, etc.

What else could I do? This past summer, former Israeli chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu instructed Jews around the world to recite Psalm 102 for the release of captured Israeli soldiers Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. So every day, rain or shine, tired or not, with time to spare or in a big rush, I read Psalm 102 without fail.

One night last week I heard a bloodcurdling scream coming from upstairs. “Mommy!” Cries at that level of urgency, panic, and volume can mean only one thing: My children had seen a cockroach that had wandered out of a newly-formed hole hidden behind the bathtub.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/my-brother-after-all/2007/01/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: