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Faces of discrimination
October 13th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Shining light on Emory school's past anti-Semitism prompts healing – and, for one man, questions

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) – Sixteen years after Susan Shulman Tessel lost her father, she sat on a Southern college campus Wednesday night and couldn't stop thinking about him. Surrounded by hundreds in a packed ballroom, she cried because he was missing. He should have been there with her and her mother. He deserved to be.

The late Irving Shulman was the only Jewish man to enter Emory University’s School of Dentistry in 1948. That was the same year someone else came to the school: the newly appointed dean, John E. Buhler.

After one academic year, Shulman flunked out. Buhler stayed on for 13 years, leading what some Jewish students would refer to as a “reign of terror.” Between 1948 and 1961, when Buhler left, 65% of Jewish students either failed out or were forced to repeat up to two years of coursework in the four-year program.

Those who lasted often paid. There were insults from professors such as “dirty Jew,” accusations by faculty of cheating and questions from the dean like, “Why do you Jews want to be dentists? You don't have it in your hands.”

Tessel's dad earned the distinction of being the first who failed.

Irving Shulman's widow, Irma Shulman-Weiner, and daughter Susan Shulman Tessel came to Emory last week because he couldn't.

His daughter, who lives in New York, heard him tell stories about the constant reminders of how awful he was. His molds of teeth  which he was so proud of  would either get crushed by hands or grades. Convinced he wasn't being treated fairly, a non-Jewish classmate agreed to turn in one of Shulman's molds under his name. Shulman's handiwork earned that student an A-minus.

“At least he knew he didn't make it up,” Tessel said.

Her late father gave up his dentistry dream and moved on to pharmacy school. But, she said, being at Emory last week would have helped him make sense of what had transpired. That's when 19 former Jewish dental students who had experienced that era came together and finally received the apology and recognition they had never thought possible.

“He didn't have the benefit of knowing he wasn't alone."

'A fraternity of silence'

Three years after Shulman was dubbed a failure at the end of his first academic year, Perry Brickman got his surprise letter from the dean telling him the same. Unlike Shulman, though, he had never been told he wasn't doing well.

Stunned. Embarrassed. Brickman was both. But he wasn't beaten down enough to give up on dentistry and was accepted to the dental school at the University of Tennessee, where he graduated fourth in his class. He would go on to have a 43-year career as a respected oral surgeon in Atlanta. He knew he was no failure. He also knew he wasn't alone. He was one of four Jewish men who entered the school in 1951; two years later they were all gone.

Brickman, 79, wasn't one to bring up the past. In 2000, he went to a reunion of his Jewish fraternity brothers from their Emory undergrad days. It turned out eight of the men in the room had been scarred by the same dental program, but it's not something they talked about. Brickman's wife, Shirley, would later start calling the former dental students “a fraternity of silence.”

It would be years before that would change.

In 2006, Emory University celebrated its 30th anniversary of Jewish studies. Eric Goldstein, a Jewish history professor, set up the exhibit to coincide with the event. He called it, “Jews of Emory: Faces of a Changing University.”

Most of the exhibit was a celebration of the campus’ Jewish life, Goldstein said, but a small section jumped out at Brickman.

He stared at statistics, a bar graph that illustrated what happened at the dental school between 1948 and 1961. The image had been featured in a chapter of “Some of My Best Friends...,” a book published by the Anti-Defamation League in the early 1960s. Like a skyscraper among short buildings, he said, the bar showing the numbers of Jews who failed out of the school or repeated coursework towered above all others. He couldn't believe what he was seeing.

The visual highlighted what Brickman always suspected about the dental school leadership and how that period was handled at Emory: “I wasn't a failure. They were a failure.”

He knew there were stories behind those numbers  not just of those who hadn't made it but also of those who did. Between the statistics and a conversation with a still-burdened classmate, Brickman set out on a path to find them all.

Making waves

A month before one man got his degree, he was forced to stand before the dean and assembled faculty for an hourlong dressing down. Later, one of the professors pulled the student aside and apologized, saying he had a wife and children to think about and had no choice but to play along.

Another said the day he got his diploma he felt like he'd been released from prison. A third repeated what a professor used to call him, "my little black sheep,” and then, bothered by the memory, muttered under his breath, “son of a bitch.”

These men said they were the "lucky" ones; the ones who actually made it through to earn degrees from the school. The 39 Jews who Brickman said enrolled during the Buhler era were all men; few women attended the school back then. Of that bunch, a dozen flunked out. Only three of those 12 became dentists. At least 15 of the Jewish dental students who lasted were forced to repeat coursework – and in some cases a year or two of study.

Art Burns, 80, of Jacksonville, Florida, flunked out in 1953 but went on to be first in his class at Temple University's dental school. The retired orthodontist recalled later bumping into the Emory dean in an Army base dental lab. Buhler looked at him and said, “Burns, I'd recognize that nose anywhere.”

Another who didn't fail – but who Buhler insisted didn't have the hands for dentistry – found himself being asked to treat dental school faculty throughout his senior year. Crowns, restorations, fillings. You name it, Ronald Goldstein did it.

“I must have had good enough hands for them,” said Goldstein, 78, of Atlanta, who lectures around the world, is considered a pioneer in his field and wrote the first comprehensive textbook on cosmetic dentistry.

The men were accepted to the school because admissions were handled by the broader university and not the dental school alone, said history professor Goldstein (no relation to Ronald). While quotas worked against Jews in many institutions at the time, the Emory dental school story was unique in that these students faced discrimination after they arrived.

Art Burns, with his wife, Olly, and daughter Marlēn, failed out of Emory's dental school but was first in his class of 131 students at Temple University.

The issues were talked about in small circles, but they weren’t discussed loudly.

What student would announce he'd flunked? What parents would talk about such news, especially in a community that put such emphasis on academic achievement? And this was Emory, a hometown liberal arts jewel many local Jews attended; who would criticize – or believe criticism about – such a place?

Beyond these hangups was the worry about backlash that permeated Atlanta's Jewish community. It was rooted in fears born of history and reality – Atlanta's infamous lynching of Leo Frank in 1913, the ongoing activity of the Ku Klux Klan, the 1958 bombing of the city's most prominent synagogue. Israel was still a fledgling nation. This was also the immediate post-Holocaust era, a time when Jewish people in America were just starting to understand the magnitude of what had happened abroad, said Deborah Lauter, the Anti-Defamation League's civil rights director.

“It was a real period of insecurity for the Jewish community, and that didn’t really shift 'til 1967,” after the Six-Day War between Israel and its neighbors, she said. “With a war victory came a newfound confidence of Jewish people.”

But a small handful of Atlanta Jews refused to let go of what was happening at the dental school. Art Levin, 95, paid attention to every snippet. Then the Southeast regional director of the ADL, Levin was determined to make Emory own up to and deal with the dental school's anti-Jewish bias. He collected graduation programs, which included lists of students in all four years, and studied how the Jewish surnames disappeared or were held back while their classmates moved ahead. He nurtured contacts who helped get him inside information from the registrar's office to back up his calculations. He wanted to make the case not by outing any victims but by presenting irrefutable facts.

When the local Jewish Community Relations Council wanted to tone down pressure on the university, Levin's response, as he stated in an Emory-commissioned documentary that premiered Wednesday evening: “Screw that. This guy has been torturing students for 10 years.”

Photos: Faces of discrimination

Levin, at the time, was “villified” by segments of the Jewish community for making waves, said ADL’s Lauter, a former Atlanta resident who, like Levin, did a stint as the organization's Southeast regional director. “But that's why we're here for people who face discrimination. Sometimes ADL has to be the tough guy. We take no prisoners in the fight against anti-Semitism.”

While Levin takes great satisfaction in knowing the story is finally getting public acknowledgement, Lauter said it's “bittersweet” for him. “He did feel stung by the whole experience." In 1962, after nine years in his position, he left the world of Jewish community work.

Levin, who now lives in Florida and is hard of hearing, was not able to be interviewed for this story.

A form devised by Buhler, which at the top asked students to check a box – Caucasian, Jewish or other (Emory was not racially integrated at the time) – ended up being his downfall, many say. The university president, S. Walter Martin, had been dismissive of the concerns Levin and some others raised. So when Martin was out of town, Levin brought a copy of the form to Judson “Jake” Ward, the dean of faculty, and Ward grew incensed. He marched down to see Buhler, who resigned soon after.

Emory's president still refused to acknowledge what had been going on and wrote off Buhler’s resignation as coincidental. Martin even insisted to local press, Goldstein said, that Buhler could have stayed at the dental school as long as he wanted.

With the dean gone, Atlanta's Jewish community essentially closed the book and put it away.

Not the man he knew

That book only recently opened for the former dean's son.

A sister-in-law sent John E. Buhler Jr., 65, a copy of a recent story in the The New York Times about the episode. What he read “caught me completely off guard,” he said. “I was completely unaware of that situation.”

He was a kid when his father landed at Emory and always believed politics in academia prompted his departure, nothing more. Everything he ever knew about his father, who died on Easter Sunday in 1976, belied what is being discussed now.

The former dean of Emory's dental school, John E. Buhler, was a different man to Jewish students than he was to his son.

The younger Buhler, a retired oral surgeon living in Huntington, Indiana, said he grew up with a man who cared about “helping kids stay in school and not throwing them out of school.” When he got into the field himself, he proudly watched how former students sought out his father at conferences, showering him with gratitude. One even boasted that he had named his child after Buhler.

“It just sort of blows me away. … He did so many positive things for dentistry and students,” the younger Buhler said. “It's hard to believe.”

Trying to make sense of it all, Buhler Jr.'s daughter sent her father an article that appeared in The Spartanburg Herald in South Carolina in 1964. It was written soon after the older Buhler assumed the dean’s post at the new dental school of what was then known as the Medical College of South Carolina – and after the Jewish community there weighed in with concerns about past anti-Semitism, demanding his appointment be rescinded.

The 1964 article quoted the chairman of the Medical College's board of trustees defending Buhler, saying he was recommended for the new position after a committee concluded the Emory charges were “not as serious as painted at one time."

The former dean's namesake doesn't remember his father ever saying a derogatory word about Jewish people. In fact, he's quick to point out that when the family lived in Atlanta, some of his parents' closest friends were Jewish.

These sorts of claims get former students like Brickman, who led the charge to humanize the dental school’s history, riled up. He has collected too many stories and seen too many documents, including incriminating notes written by Buhler himself, to call the former dean anything but an anti-Semite.

But for Buhler Jr., none of this adds up. Really, how can it?

“If this situation did exist, it was certainly out of character of the man I knew,” he wrote CNN the morning after the Emory event. “If indeed these events did occur, I feel badly for the individuals involved. Last night’s event might have made them feel better but didn't compensate for their injury.”

I am sorry. We are sorry.’

Facing its history is something Emory isn’t afraid to do.

In 2011, it issued a statement of regret for the school's involvement with slavery. The Southern institution once had slave laborers on campus and faculty members who owned slaves.

Earlier this year, Emory fessed up to fudging data to boost its ranking.

Meantime, the university boasts a Center for Ethics, campus dialogues on matters like race, sexuality and gender, and has long-proven its support for Jewish studies and community. It has 20 full-time faculty members dedicated to the field, including world-renowned Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt.

The school seemed ripe for the resurfacing of the dental school's history, which is why Goldstein, the Jewish history professor, placed a call last spring to Gary Hauk, Emory's vice president and deputy to the president. He said he had a friend Hauk needed to meet.

With testimonies he had recorded with his Flip camera, Brickman showed Hauk videos of men in their 70s and 80s, their negative Emory dental school experience still etched in their faces and emotions. Hauk didn't need convincing that something needed to be done.

A documentary incorporating Brickman's footage was commissioned, resulting in “From Silence to Recognition: Confronting Discrimination in Emory's Dental School History.” A plan was developed to invite the former students, their families and their widows to come together on campus for an apology that was half a century overdue.

What had happened to them at the dental school, which closed in the early 1990s for unrelated reasons, had never been formally acknowledged. It was time.

Blue ribbons were strung along aisles to reserve seats for the special guests, who first met privately with Emory President James W. Wagner. The men, some of whom hadn't returned to Emory since the day they left, arrived with family members from all over the country. Many went on to become great successes in dentistry. Those who gave up that dream excelled as physicians, lawyers, CPAs and computer experts. One man who flunked out tried his hand at painting, wanting to prove he had the manual skills the dean said he lacked; he won art show awards.

The experience had been a guarded secret for some – a chapter in life they hid from parents, friends, future spouses and their children. One woman in attendance said she had only learned the day before that her father failed out of Emory. For other former students, their time at Emory haunted them. One of their daughters – who refused even years later to apply to Emory when she went to dental school – dubbed herself and others like her “children of survivors,” a term often linked to the Holocaust. An 18-year-old man, who is gay and faced plenty of bullying, realized he could relate to the grandfather sitting next to him in new ways.

Widows and children of deceased former students showed up for those who didn't live long enough to see this day. One man, who was young when his father died, came to hear stories no one else in his life could tell.

All around them, as they took their seats, the ballroom filled. A standing-room-only crowd of hundreds came out to recognize them. Here, any shame from the past was lifted. Instead, these men were the picture of courage and worthy of respect – and that long-awaited apology.

“Institutions – universities – are as fallible as the human beings who populate them, and like individuals, universities need to remind themselves frequently of the principles they want to live by,” President Wagner said. “The discrimination against Jewish dental students undermined the academic integrity of the dental school and ultimately of Emory. … I am sorry. We are sorry.”

The night, which would end with a special dinner for this no-longer-silent fraternity, included a tribute to Brickman, who was called to the stage.

Norman Trieger traveled last week from New York to hear Emory's apology for and acknowledgement of past anti-Semitism. On Saturday, he passed away.

His wife, surrounded by family, clung to a tissue and dabbed her eyes. A daughter clutched her mother’s hand. A son looked up at his dad and beamed.

Brickman never did this for the Emory History Maker medal Wagner strung around his neck. Nor did he do this for the citation read to honor his work.

For him, this was a journey of discovery - one he took with the faces behind the numbers. With him that night were these men and their families, as well as the university he still loved.

Throughout the evening, and long after dinner ended, he saw tears, camaraderie, even laughter from some of the very men he feared were no longer capable of smiling.

All of this, he hoped, signaled what mattered most: Healing.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Discrimination • Education • Judaism • Prejudice

soundoff (1,537 Responses)
  1. Portland tony

    Although the discrimination practices of Emory's school of dentistry seem abhorrent in today's world, many many other "racial" atrocities have been practiced against Jews and other minorities that make flunking out of school seem like nothing more than a slap in the face. Why do we civilized humans always have to single out others as inferior? Beats me!

    October 14, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  2. John

    I thought this article was about Sid Caesar from the picture.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  3. paulbrownandthekd

    It is so terrible that this happened, since the Jews never discriminate or discriminated against anyone–they are so inclusive.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Edwin

      Clearly, you have missed all the important lessons about prejudice and discrimination. I hope you learn someday.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • rasko41

      Anti-semites are just whimpering turn-and-run sissies.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Rednip

      Decades of right wingers whining that they aren't 'the real racists, [the blacks, the Jews, etc] are racists', such comments are expected discourse from those that call themselves 'conservative' and more often than not these days 'Republican'. I'm an upper middle class white American of German/ Scot background and the only discrimination I ever saw was from right wing loonies who made the mistake of thinking I was sympathetic.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • DJ

      Thank you. Normally we all have to wait a while before we can flag a person like you so others will know he's garbage without having to endure it themselves. How do you type with that white sheet over your head?

      October 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  4. Irv

    Dear CNN,

    As a Jew and an Emory alumna, I greatly appreciate the content of this article. It details a history of my alma mater with which I never was familiar. That being said, please refrain from putting articles about Jews in such a prominent location, close them to comments, or avoid writing them entirely. When mainstream media sites run stories about anti-Semitic discrimination, the comments sections frequently turn into a forum for the most hateful bile about Jews. As a Jew, I beg you not to provide a forum for such hatred. While comments sections on a mainstream site such as CNN should be a place for thought-provoking dialogue, they have proven not to be time after time when Jews are the topic. To the haters, I am not trying to silence you. You can open your own forums, and often do, to spill your bile. I just ask CNN not to provide such a forum. As a private enterprise, CNN has the right to decide who it provides with a platform. Please make the right choice.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • midwest rail

      Yes you are trying to silence them. Vile comments are usually met with derision and counter arguments. That is the nature of an open dialogue.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It doesn't appear that any person at CNN reads the comments here. It might be more effective to send your suggestion to CNN directly rather than to post it here.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  5. ahhhhhh

    It all sounds kosher but history is repeating itself. The zionists are destroying America just like they did Germany with their subversions, manipulations, and deceits. They HATE and are envious of a successful country. It will backfire AGAIN just like it has for satan's chosen people for THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of years. When will you Jews learn to quit spitting in God's face and respect other human beings? And after this country has tanked, I sure wouldn't want to be a Jew in America. "FEMA" camps?? Yeah... "Concentration camps" isn't politically correct anymore. Knock knock??
    The whole Jewish philosophy that you're "God's chosen people" and somehow more special than anyone else in this world is wrong and yet another old Jewish manipulation.
    The "superiority" idea is what gives Jews their insane drive and ambition – to attain positions of power and to make as much money as possible so they can lord over, influence and manipulate others. I'd bet a dollar that he's not even a very good dentist with a good reputation. But of course he probably thinks he is – Jewish pride.

    Khazars – just a nasty, dirty, deceitful group of people. It's probably genetic. SATAN AND IT'S CHOSEN PEOPLE aren't AT ALL beautiful or attractive – they're UGLY – inside and out.

    Is my grammer wrong?? But you get the picture don't you.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Feel better about yourself, now?

      October 14, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Glh1

      We get the picture, alright...you are a bigot. It's an ugly picture.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Roscoe Chait

      Time for your medication, Sonny Boy.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Dave

      "They HATE and are envious " sure seems to sum it up for this person. Hate seems to permeate this post. Abuse? or Freedom of speech? I vote abuse.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Portland tony

      I certainly hope your next root canal is done buy one of those Zionist you refer to!

      October 14, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Bibletruth

      Satan's chosen people?? The Jews were Gods's chosen people. Not chosen people in the sense of being superior human beings physically or mentally but in responsibility. God graced Abraham, because of Abraham's faithfulness, and his posterity to be his chosen people to spread the knowledge of the true God and his character to the world . Reading the old testament, especially Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, we see how they failed to believe God and were so often rebellious against God. Finally, God gave them a final ultimatum to get their act together (so to speak) and become a faithful people , accept the Messiah, put away sin, etc. (see the book of Daniel) or they would be judged (set aside as Gods special people and the gospel message given to others (gentiles) to give to the world. They did not accept the Messiah, crucified him (see the parable of the vineyard) and declared "we have no God but Caesur" and even declared "let His blood be upon us and our children". So the gospel commission was given to others and the "nation" of Israel was finished as having any special relationship with God. Every Jew now comes to the true God in exactly the same way as any Gentile, through faith in the messiah, Jesus Christ. A Jew is no more "satans chosen people than anyone else". All, "whosoever will" may come and partake of the water of life, that is "become a partaker of the divine nature".

      October 14, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • good one

      ..and your parents were anti-semite,racist p r i c k s-JUST LIKE YOU.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Hahahaha

      OK, now we see why the world doesn't change. Morons like you want to cling to your archaic religious beliefs and fail to see a story like this for what it is, flat out bigotry and racism, proven through history and with specific evidence. People like you only wish to divide and blame and probably become violent when the time is "right". Am I far off base?

      October 14, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  6. Jim

    God will redeem his own!

    October 14, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Surely not at face value?

      October 14, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • sybaris

      Which god?

      October 14, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Dave

      What is the current exchange rate for redemption?

      October 14, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  7. Citizensane

    Unfortunately many "Buhlers" permeate all areas of society. Thank you for this important article.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  8. Bible just a theory

    Another one of GOD'S BIG CARELESS MISTAKES! He could have had the GOSPEL WRITERS write that "The Jews are completely innocent of this deed" (the crucifixion). Instead, this careless God had them write, "His (Jesus) blood be upon us and on our children," a phrase which led to endless persecutions and eventually the Holocaust. And this blunder was committed by a God who claims to be omnipotent and omniscient – how come he couldn't see ahead what would happen?!

    October 14, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • sybaris

      So much for an omniscient god

      Stupid god.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  9. Cletus

    The old jewish scapegoats are ancestors of modern day muslim scapegoats.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  10. Farrok

    Why is it that humans always have to have someone they are picking on? In life I have seen it over and over.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • sybaris

      Religion a.k.a. "willful ignorance" is worth picking on.

      Why would you want your children to grow up ignorant?

      October 14, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  11. Dynamic

    What about those of us who refuse to become back-stabbers? Who's going to tell our story? Bullied and blackballed from one place to the next in an endless series of jobs, fake friends and family betrayal, our only crime is that of being non-back-stabbers...we're the "Nice Guys (and Gals)" that everyone takes advantage of. Our story is a much more universal one of wanting the world to become a better place, but having no defining racial minority or religious or ethnic cause or stereotype, we march on for the sake of humanity itself. Bruised and battered when we refuse to participate in the office rumor mill or to speak lies behind the backs of our friends, family or co-workers, we become the outcasts, the subject of the derision we choose to stand against. Who will ever tell our story? We are ... "THE NICE GUYS ... (AND GALS)". Why are we ALWAYS being persecuted? And there aren't many of us left, so we can't claim to own this or that or be actors or writers or really anything that requires interacting with back-stabbers (i. e. most of the rest of the world). Yet we carry on and treat others with respect and decency. We know that money leaves a trail and it's easy to find the main flow of every large corporations' success, and that flow always includes major contributions from us nice guys (and gals), the common man and woman. We carry on even when working with the Jewish or the Muslim or the Christian or the Atheist or the Politician, even when all the "believers" in these social clubs turn their backs on their own beliefs and persecute us by being mean and back-stabby, even then we are incapable of feeling anything but nice toward them. It's true, "Nice Guys (and Gals)" do finish last ... but the last shall be first, etc. etc. etc. It's also true that Jewish people do tend to control certain professions and key organizations and corporations, but we must ask ourselves, "Where would we be without the "Nice Guys (and Gals)" even within those Jew-controlled systems?" We would have to say, "Hitler might as well have won and killed all the Jews because there are no more nice Jews left." But such is not the case, and we can see that when we watch non-Jew movies ... because out there somewhere a Jew allowed that movie to be made ... and that Jew was not just another mean, self-serving, anti-non-Jew ... they were a nice guy or gal who just happened to be Jewish. *Shalomi and Shazam*

    October 14, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Roscoe Chait

      Good Lord, somebody opened the doors to the nut house and this ferkacta vance escaped. Quick, somebody call the men in the white suits with the butterfly net.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Kay

      I'm sorry, but you don't actually sound very nice to me. You sound bitter and resentful, and blame others for the things that happen to you, without ever considering your own actual behavior towards those people.

      Based on your own words, you obviously don't know what being "nice" really is. Among other things, I can assure you that it doesn't mean stereotyping people and then saying "but..."

      October 14, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Hahahaha

      You had me, until your bent towards your obvious anti semitic feelings.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  12. donte

    I'm sure Jews weren't the only ones discriminated against by Emory, but they are the only ones written about. Jews were not allowed to study medicine in the US as late as 1920. Instead of constantly publishing sob stories about the mistreatment of Jews, why not present some analysis by Jews and non-Jews about why these problems exist to begin with? Throwing out anti-semite labels as the reason behind all mistreatment of Jews is too simplistic and silences any open discussion that might lead to great understanding. The Jews are hardly a mistreated group in the US today and CNN doesn't cease to publish stories on almost a daily basis of something related to the past plight of the Jews.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Jesus Christ

      Donte – I think you are lacking in the brains department.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Hahahaha

      Hardly mistreated today? I'm an atheist with jewish heritage. I endure anti semitism on a daily basis. Oh, I guess off the cuff jokes such as "jew 'em down" are just harmless jokes, eh? F you, moron.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • RNK

      read more history. Discrimination against Jews has existed for a very long time.
      Jews received more rights following the French revolution, but then were seen as the cause of the revolution and so were targeted because of that. There are some books that do discuss and attempt to explain the reasons, some are misunderstandings due to different traditions and religions, some discrimination because they are a small group and easy to use as a scapegoat.

      October 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  13. GAW

    I wonder how many people actually read the essay?

    October 14, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Dynamic

      I wonder if GAW even actually read the essay before asking if anyone else actually read the essay...

      October 14, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Seth Hill

      I wonder from "Dynamic"'s post wondering if "GAW"'s wondering how many people read the essay, made "Dynamic" wonder if "GAW" read the essay, if "Dynamic" read the essay?

      October 14, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  14. mitt

    and yet jews are some of the most racist and discriminatory people

    go figure

    October 14, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Jesus Christ

      Mitt – you are an idjit....go figure!

      October 14, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • CAMY

      Its not that they are discriminatory, its that they are a very closed community. This happens in kind of a circle: a) People start not liking jews because they are a closed community. This leads to prejudice and bias. b) As a defense mechanism, jews become an even closer community, restarting the cycle. Thats kind of what it was like pre-WWII. Also, people were jealous because jews tended to be better in business; their religion gives them contacts.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Edwin

      CAMY is correct. When a group is picked on by everyone else, it forces them to become insular for defense, and it creates resentment towards outsiders.

      If you want to know how jews behave without ongoing anti-Semitism, you have to find areas where it was not the norm for centuries - and that is hard to do. But in places where jews have not lived with persecution, they tend to embrace their neighbors' lives as readily as any other group.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Roscoe Chait

      To Camy... I think you need to learn a little bit of history. Jews have been discriminated against for centuries. Sometimes a benevolent King would allow them to live peacefully in his land, but too often he would change his mind and send his soldiers to murder them. Jews were not allowed to own land. They were not allowed to have professions. They were not allowed to attend schools. They were not allowed to join Unions. But they were allowed to handle money, which was looked down upon by most people. And they were allowed to sell items like jewelry. Hence, the diamond trade. Through discimination and the threat of murder, the Jews engaged in activities they were allowed to do. In addition, they hid diamonds and other jewels, as they were the only items that retained value if they were forced to flee at a moment's notice. Obviously, things have changed today and Jews are allowed to attend schools and learn a profession. But always in the back of a Jewish person's mind is the threat that one day he or she will have to flee in order to survive. Hitler certainly reinforced that way of thinking, and now today Amardinijan wants to murder the Jews for reasons beyond understanding. Some things just never seem to change. How come?

      October 14, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • cashmeremafia

      CAMY is most certainly correct – it's human nature. The ethnic communities that sprang up in major cities (Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Italy, Little Havana, etc.) were mainly the result of employment discrimination; they wanted to be around people like themselves that shared the same language and culture. Ever heard of the phrase "Irish need not apply"?

      October 14, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Hahahaha

      Camy is most certainly incorrect. Her assumption is that jews brought the hatred upon themselves because they were first a closed community and that's why they brought the wrath of everyone else upon themselves. Nice work completing your ignorant and anti semitic circle.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  15. Islamisevil

    Irony about evil America is they worship a non-white Jew, Jesus

    October 14, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • girdie

      that always amazed me also. especially southern extreme christians. the south is famous for hating anything and everything non white, and yet they pray to a middle eastern Jew!!??

      October 14, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • FormerMarineSgt

      girdie wrote "that always amazed me also. especially southern extreme christians. the south is famous for hating anything and everything non white, and yet they pray to a middle eastern Jew!!??"
      ------– Look closer at all of the portrayals of Jesus in these churches. He looks Anglo-Saxon white. He is portrayed as a white man. THAT is why these southern extreme Christians get around that problem.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  16. Broadcasting

    Hitler was denied admission to art school because he wasn't Jewish.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Source?

      October 14, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • AK

      More like he had no talent. For anything but community organizing.

      Must....not....go....there........

      October 14, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Broadcasting

      Let me reword that. Hitler BELIEVED he was denied admission because he wasn't jewish.

      October 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  17. Mennoknight

    I am a born again Christian and I love Jews.
    Jesus was a Jew.

    As for who killed Jesus: it was the Gentile Romans who killed Jesus after a sham trial that was lead by the Jewish religious establishment of that day.

    For the first 200 years of Christianity the majority of Christ followers were Jewish background.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • derf

      How can say you love Jews? That's like saying you hate Jews. Jews are just a bunch of people. Some good some bad. They are desert crazies just like you though.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • sybaris

      and you know this because someone wrote about it some 70 years after the alleged event?

      You love Jews? THAT is hilarious!

      Why do christards say that? It's like saying they love puppies.

      Oh I get it. If you "love" Jews then you're in favor with the almighty sky daddy. Nice.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • CAMY

      Guys, thats a little unfair. I grew up as a christian, in the south even. Albeit, I'm not one now, but you are misinterpreting what the person was trying to say, that MOST of us don't have problems with Jews, just the extremist ones. You hear those people more because they talk louder, not because they are more common. There might be bit of truth in that one of the reasons christians are "tolerant" of judaism is because Jesus was a jew. But keep in mind that for the most part we don't need an excuse to be nice. You might not realize that you're doing it, but this is cyberbullying.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • sybaris

      cyberbullying? Really?

      No CAMY, it's pointing out ignorance. Religion requires ignorance to perpetuate. If your kid kept saying 2+2= pickles would you not correct them?

      George Bush used his military to invade Iraq and murder tens of thousands of innocent civilians all because.................he believed his god told him it was the right thing to do.

      We don't need people in power holding the fate of million by the voices in their head nor do we need to allow people to continue to believe in the myths and fairy tales that support them.

      Religion and the worship of god(s) is a filthy perverted disease of the mind and if pointing it out is offensive so be it.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Bibletruth

      Actually, while the Roman authorities executed Jesus, it was at the zealous behest of the jewish leaders. Why did Jesus die? For the sins of the world. Anyone that thinks that Jesus death was for any reason than their own sin, has no understanding of scripture.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Mennoknight

      sybaris
      Paul wrote letters between 15 and 35 years after Jesus.
      Mark wrote 15-20 years after Jesus
      James wrote 20 years after Jesus
      Peter wrote 25 – 35 years after Jesus
      Luke wrote 30-35 years
      Matthew 35-40
      JOHN wrote the last two books in the bible and they were John and Revelation (He wrote his letters 40 – 50 years after)

      And yes is was for the sins of all mankind that Jesus died.
      But I love Jews because they are God's chosen people from whom the whole world has been blessed. They are the cornerstone of our civilization. We own them our salvation and much of our culture.

      October 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      OK, Mennopot, that's twice you've written "own them." Try to figure out what it is you mean and then type. Not the other way around.

      October 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  18. Hmmmm

    Is IS amazing, isn't it? That throughout the ages, across different continents and many hundreds of years, many diverse societies with no contact or ideological relation to each other came to identify and react against the same group of people living among them.

    Makes you go Hmmm....what might be the real reasons for for this ages old reaction of so much of humanity to one extended tribe of people? Hmmmm....

    October 14, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • snowboarder

      hmmm – they share a common religious dogma of the jews as the fabled killers of christ. hardly surprising.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • derf

      Desert craziness moved out into the rest of the world and we're surprised that sane people reacted badly to it? It got dressed up with that Christ thing and now look what's happened. It may take another 2000 years to get rid of it.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Andrew

      Those who feel they are inferior to Jews will always hate them.

      October 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  19. SugarKube

    Lots if democtats today are openly antisementic.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • midwest rail

      What is a democtat ?

      October 14, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And what's anitsementic?

      October 14, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      antisementic.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Anyone who demands condom use is antisementic. Not saying that's a bad thing, you understand?

      October 14, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Edwin

      SugarKube: ridicule about grammar aside, what's your point - that the democratic party includes some bad people, too?

      Not a very strong point. The goal should be to remove anti-Semitism, not justify its existence.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  20. Jesus Christ

    It is insane that people consistently go after the Jews. After overt anti-Semitism became harder to pull off, some universities started quotas on different regions to achieve similar consequences (e.g., a quota on New Yorkers which was primarily meant to rule out the Jews).

    Amazing the lengths people go to discriminate.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • donte

      Quotas? Check out how the top-ranked California schools have to establish policies to prevent their campuses from being virtually 100% Asian. And yet the Chinese-American community doesn't complain. If Stanford were to base admissions purely upon qualifications with no regard to ethnicity, the Asian-American group would be the overwhelming majority. In order to keep the campus diverse, they have to have higher standards for Asians than any other group.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:25 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.