The argument raised by Rebecca Blady and Hillel Buechler, the two students against Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren speaking at the Brandeis graduation (“Israeli Ambassador Wrong For Commencement,” Opinion, May 21), reminds me of the new rabbi who is told by the congregation’s president: “Don’t speak about keeping the Sabbath, don’t speak about observing the laws of kashrut, don’t speak about Israel. Just speak about Judaism.”
These opponents argue that Ambassador Oren will “alienate a segment of the Brandeis community.” The charge to any commencement speaker is to challenge the graduates to meet the political, professional and personal controversies they will encounter as they go out into life.
Challenges in any of these categories will no doubt “alienate a segment” of the graduating community, but part of the maturation process that is included in the college curriculum is to learn to deal with, either by accepting or refuting, these challenges. Post-college, it’s time for mature students to face challenges, not to hide their heads in the sand because they are alienated by them.
The students at Brandeis should ask themselves: “If the Israeli ambassador to the United States can’t speak at Brandeis University, where can he speak?”
Riverdale, The Bronx