by Holli Levitsky
Our originary moment: Elie Wiesel came to Loyola Marymount to speak at the inauguration of our Jewish Studies program in 2007, and, like a rock star, 1000 people were turned away for lack of seats. The 2000 or so LMU students, faculty, and friends who did manage to get seats in the gymnasium witnessed a rabbi, a priest, and the world’s most celebrated Holocaust survivor clasp hands and pray together for the world to seek peace and reconciliation. Wherever I turn in my work today–taking students to Poland to learn about the Holocaust and the history of Jewish life, to Israel, to encounter other faith traditions in order to learn from them, in the classroom, to examine and learn how to think critically and compassionately about the power of literature to shape thought and action, and in the diverse programs we offer that bring together campus and community–I see this image, and hear this prayer.
May his memory be a blessing, and may his prayers for peace and reconciliation rain down upon us until we learn them by heart.
Dr. Holli Levitsky is the director of Jewish Studies at Loyola Marymount University.