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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The Nashim issue, and a chemistry story

Published: January 27, 2006
Section: Opinions

I looked at my article and the rest of the Opinions section of last weeks Hoot. What did I find? The other articles were controversial and were written to open up dialogue amongst students regarding such situations as interreligious relations on campus as well as the Nashim Talent Show controversy. Sitting at my laptop to write this article, I have two options. I have a strong opinion regarding the Nashim issue, and I also have a story on Chemistry brewing in my head. The casual reader is now screaming in his or her head, You numbskull! As you read this article, theres a decent shot you would prefer to read something that would get your blood flowing, something to either (1) draw your ire or (2) silently applaud the points I make.

To tell you the truth, I got riled up by my friend,David Peposes article on the Nashim issue, namely with the points raised against funding Nashim. (By the way, nice job to Pep on a good treatment of both sides of the argument.) It probably wouldnt be incredibly difficult for me to blab for a while about the stupidity I see behind the whole argument. I am friendly with one member of the group that argued against the funding of the Talent Show. Maybe I am a wimp, but Im going to hold off on a tirade against him and against other friends and acquaintances with whom I disagree, even on issues about which I am passionate.

People debate everything here at Brandeis, with Hoot dialogue a microcosm of the exchanges of the broader campus community. Theres the Democrat-Republican bickering, tension between members of different Jewish social and religious groups, arguments over interaction between Jewish and non-Jewish students, and the list goes on. Am I going to try to convince people we have perfect relations between all groups and individuals here at Brandeis? No. How about a complete absence of all prejudices? No. Finally, does it matter that we agree on the precise magnitude of problems we have on campus with interaction between different groups? Not so much.

I think its more important, more relevant for us to consider our individual relations with others outside of our social and religious circles. I know we have a lot of political and social activists who enjoy a good argument, but why not work on ourselves before blaming masses of other people?

My mother always says, It doesnt cost anything to be nice. Easier said than done, but an important lesson nonetheless. Are there people on your hall with very different value systems and views than you? Have you made the effort to meet your hall mates, maybe chill together to watch a football game or art show or something? I cannot speak for everyone, but theres usually something you can talk about with anyone youd meet here. Take your hall for example. My floor in East Quad is made up of twenty-one sophomore guys.

With over a minyan (quorum of ten) of observant Jewish students as well as a number of ZBT brothers and baseball and soccer players, I have a unique opportunity to be friendly with a number of guys with religious views similar to mine, as well as other guys with similar sports or other interests. Am I best buds with everyone on my floor? Of course not. Am I good at not judging people? No- it is something in which I have a lot of work to do. Further, I cannot say that I know the other twenty guys extremely well, but they all have something to offer me. I have had worthwhile conversations with a number of the guys I did not previously know.