In response to the two letter-writers Gail Propp and Debbie Y. Jonas (Letters, Sept. 21) — interestingly, both women — I share the anguish they feel that an important man like Michael Steinhardt has been unfairly criticized by The Jewish Week. But if you look closely, there were not only totally inappropriate “jokes” but other things [described in the article] that may not be technically termed “harassment”, but are totally inappropriate.
The real issue affects men as well as women. We all know powerful men who humiliate, belittle, and deride others, and people, even good people like Ms. Propp or Ms. Jonas or any one of us (we are all guilty), who enable powerful men to continue to do it. The enablers don’t stop men like Mr. Steinhardt because they want to keep their jobs, their grants, the money flowing. But they are just as guilty as the perpetrator.
However, I think there is hope for Mr. Steinhardt. This [Hillel] investigation will tone him down, and he will now know that what he said and did was very wrong, that it was not a joke. Once is a joke; after a while, it’s not a joke anymore.