Echoes of traumatic past in family separations
Like most Americans and citizens around the world, I am appalled and heartsick by the Trump administration’s cruel and immoral policy of tearing apart families who are seeking asylum in the U.S.
As a mother, psychotherapist, daughter of Holocaust survivors and child refugee from the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, every fiber of my being knows that this policy is wrong. And hearing that children are being marched away from their families under the guise of taking them for baths is a chilling echo of the past.
As a 6½-year-old child refugee, I derived great comfort and reassurance from continually holding my father’s warm hand throughout the displacement and chaos (and anti-Semitic violence) of refugee camps after escaping into Austria. With my mother and brother, too, providing comfort and companionship, I was fortunately spared the agonizing trauma these children are now subjected to.
This is an intentionally induced trauma that can be avoided, one which will last a lifetime and have associated health problems, as I have seen in my therapy office working with survivors of trauma.
This inhumane discretionary policy of ripping families apart must be stopped immediately.
Harvey Milk was my Jewish frat brother
Re: “Harvey Milk: Gay icon, proud Jew” (June 15), during the mid-1970s, I attended an event in honor of Quentin Kopp. Harvey Milk, who was then gaining some notice on the San Francisco political scene, was also there. I introduced myself to him and said I had noted that he, as I, had graduated from the New York State College for Teachers in Albany (now SUNY-Albany).
The very first words out of Harvey’s mouth were that he was a member of Kappa Beta fraternity, the Jewish fraternity created when Jews were not allowed membership in other campus fraternities. Naturally, I was also a member of Kappa Beta, so we were fraternity brothers.
Contemporary Jewish Museum earns its name — and kudos
The Contemporary Jewish Museum has built a unique identity through the way it reinvents itself with each new exhibition and makes itself accessible to and stimulating for people of all ages and backgrounds (“CJM turns 10: Is it contemporary, Jewish or a museum?” June 1).
My children, who attend public schools, have both visited the museum on school field trips. In November 2015, CJM hosted an exhibition called “NEAT: New Experiments in Art and Technology,” which my son Sammy attended with his kindergarten. As a parent chaperone on the trip, I saw children riveted by this remarkable introduction to the intersection of art, engineering and technology. I also had the chance to kvell when the docent leading the tour asked the students if anyone knew what the word “experiment” meant and my son raised his hand and said: “It’s where you try something to see if it works.”
Two years later, my daughter Sophie visited the museum with her kindergarten and saw an exhibition (still ongoing) on the work of San Francisco native Rube Goldberg. Again, this synthesized aspects of art and engineering, and noticeably stirred the imaginations of the students in my daughter’s class.
Years earlier, another exhibition, on Maurice Sendak, led to his wonderful book “Chicken Soup with Rice” becoming part of my daughter’s nightly bedtime routine. By age 4, she was reciting it to me from memory.
CJM’s exhibitions for adult audiences have been remarkable, too. A 2009 exhibition on Marc Chagall and the Russian Jewish theater was particularly impressive.
So in response to the question of whether the CJM is contemporary, Jewish or a museum, my answer is: All of the above, and in the best possible way.
Stephen A. Silver,
A heartwarming story about a father’s wisdom
Thank you, Rabbi Shelley Waldenberg, for your touching and beautiful tribute to your father (“My taste of treyf, and my Orthodox rabbi dad’s reaction,” June 15). It warmed my heart. You told a good story and, with it, captured his kindness and compassion. Your father was a wise man.