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. yeshu @ sam

    @ Sam –
    The very foundation of Christianity is based on Judaism. Most of the disciples were in fact Jews and the Synoptic Gospels were written over 40 years after Yeshu's crucifixtion. There was no Christianity during Yeshu's time. The Romans worshipped their gods-which were the very same gods of the Greeks on Mt Olympus, their names were changed to Latin names. The word Christianity actually comes from the Greek Christos.

    One may open a prayer book in any church (even in Atlanta) regardless of the denomination, and one will find all Jewish liturgy. The prayer "Our Father who Art in heaven" is actually a Hebrew prayer Avinu Malkeinu-Sh' Bashamayim" Yeshu like
    most in those days spoke Aramaic, Hebrew was used to pray in the Temple.
    I don't know Sam what you were taught and by whom, but a little reasearvch is in order. BTW if your name is really Sam, that is also a Hebrew name: Samuel or Shmuel in Hebrew.

    Shalom Sam.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • sybaris

      Actually christians should be called Paulists since the whole thing is a cult started by him and centered around some guy named Jesus who was the David Koresh of his day.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • derf

      Thanks, I was wondering where all the craziness came from. It came from desert crazies. The worst kind.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Gordon

      The Absolute Truth is eternal. What is manifested of the True Word in this universe will survive until the end of the universe.

      It is a wonder that Christianity and Judaism has survived millennia. No wonder Islam survives, which copied many of the True Word from Judaism and Christianity. The moderates of Islam are actually practicing part of the True Word.

      The only remaining important Truth that non-Christians miss, is the fact that the first coming of the Savior has already occurred.

      To all people who practice Islam and Judaism (and to all others,) you must believe this to get to Heaven (with Allah, Jehovah, etc.) There is no other way. Just believing part of the Truth won't work.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • snowboarder

      gordon – there is no legitimate reason to believe any of that to be true.

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

    Reality and honest journalism is attacking religion daily now, and thanks to the web its speeding its demise . Thank god for that.

    October 14, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • snowboarder


      October 14, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  3. happyfrenchman

    Christians being christian.... Most christians have no idea the roots of the holocaust itself go back to christian hatred of the Jews as A"Christ Killers"... That fact, that elephant in the room, is brushed under the carpet by the media, and by the christians that do know this. Which is the reason, most christians have no idea.

    October 14, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • sybaris

      The funny thing about it is if Paul had made some other guy, say Jimmy, the "god" figure in his made up religion then the Jimmyists would be calling Jews "Jimmy Killers".

      Religion and the worship of god(s) is a filthy perverted disease of the mind.

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

      See what we have to look forward to when the Mormons are in charge? They think of non-Mormons as Joseph Smith-killers. I'm heading for Europe when they come around breaking windows and sh it.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Gordon

      What is important to distinguish is that there are "true" Christians and "false" Christians who purport to believe in Christ.

      Paul the Apostle acted like a zealot, attacking Christians, before he truthfully believed in the First Coming of Messiah, the Death, and the Resurrection. That is what the Jew-attacking Christians (the false Christians) act like, zealots. That is what Crusaders did to Muslims, act like zealots. I don't believe most Crusaders are true Christians.

      A true Christian would have faith in Christ, that he/she has already been given the ticket to heaven for free with the redemption of sin through the crucifixion of Christ, and overcoming the Ultimate Death Penalty through Resurrection. There is no reason to unjustly attack any non-believers on their own will, because God won't allow His Plan to be foiled by them.

      People who attack in the name of any religion, or even become passive and not justifiably stop the attack, clearly shows where their true faith lies. And it's not with an infinitely perfect God.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • snowboarder

      any time the word "true" is used as an adjective, you can be certain nothing reasonable will follow.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  4. Ghenghis73

    Most all of the responses here go way off topic. They refer to religion and other peripheral issues. What really matters here is that several students who were Jewish, in an un-PC environment,who were giving there hard work day after day to a school, in the south, a well respected school, only to have their high quality work ignored and most times expunged from their record, JUST BECAUSE they were Jewish. You may wish to call this an overreaction. You may wish to think it never happened. But, as it has been said before if people fail to recognize their evil traits and ways of being, by remembering WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED, we risk repeating the same incomprehensible, if not horrifying mistakes of our fathers, and their fathers before them. This is all that matters in these discussions, and nothing else.

    October 14, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  5. OBAMA '12

    There are more Dentists per capita in Mormon heavy states, however just one poor Mormon family can't show a full set of teeth. Why is that?

    October 14, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  6. Rob

    Religion is a plague, a cancer, and ironically totally evil...

    October 14, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • miller

      OMG it's Chairman Mao! I amazed to see you posing here; it said on wikipidia that you died in 1976??

      October 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • James

      seeing as how judaism is an ethno-religious group. Both a religion and an ethnic group. How does eliminating religion solve this problem. Hell just look to the treatment of the overseas chinese to see how merchant heavy minorities are treated with or without religion.

      October 16, 2012 at 2:23 am |
  7. Carole Clarke

    As a 70 year old whose father's family is from Savannah and had Jewish friends, I do remember the prejudice that permeated the south. And not only against Jews but against blacks, any person whose skin was not white, anyone with a non-southern accent, anyone in foreign clothing like a sari or turban, and any white who protested against the prejudice. They too feared getting the roof burned over their heads by nightriders. The loss of the War Between the States was only yesterday and they resented losing, being occupied by the winning army and not making progress. That all changed when Hartzfield Airport went in outside Atlanta, then we got the Olympics. I doubt if anyone would do that to Jews in Georgia today – a call to Tel Aviv and Bibi would field a team of Mossad agents to check things out. Fear keeps the bigots silent now, thankfully. That's always what it takes to handle bullies. And that's all they ever were.

    October 14, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Bibletruth

      Carol, there is far more going on than just "bullies" doing what bullies do. Those who think that prejudice or bigotry or anti semitism or anything in those lines is being pushed more and more into the background are correct as to outward manifestation, but horribly incorrect as to inner (heart and mind) reality. Evolution of course teaches that tribalism (call it what you will) reigns and only needs official sanction or a strong majority or a zealous minority to manifest itself. Currently the intensity is building and will soon manifest itself. This all must know: if you wish another human being harm, distress, hurt, etc. you are not a Christian, period. Also, there are accounts of things in the bible that may have much to do with certain things that have occurred since the time of Christ, like John 19:15 (We have no king but Caesur" or Matt 27:25 (His blood be on us and on our children).

      October 14, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  8. Bob

    Although virtually no one who was employed by Emory at he time is still alive, an example should be driven home hard and fast that this type of behavior is intolerable and will cause repercussions in the future no matter when it comes to light.

    October 14, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  9. JJ

    I would agree this treatment was unfair were it not for how the jews treat the Palestinians in Gaza. Reign of terrorism my rear.

    October 14, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • agathokles

      So, if one member of a religious group does something bad, thousands of miles away, it's OK to do something bad to someone, here, who is a member of that same religious group??? You do realize, don't you, that there is a sizable group of Israeli Jews who oppose their nations' treatment of the Palestinians. It's like you're condoning the beating of one man because some other man did something to you. They're both men, right?

      October 14, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Chad

      Wow, JJ you really have no idea what's going on over there. Israel has tried multiple times to give Palestine peace by signing agreements. All the Palestinians want to do is throw rocks after they sign it each time. The Israelis even gave back land they took in 1967 after all the local Arab countries attacked them. How you can say Israel is the bully? You need to read some more non-religious literature out there and learn something.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • derf

      More desert craziness. You know what the difference is between an Israeli and a Palestinian? Stories from a books no one really believes. The bible and the Koran.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • JJ

      @agathokles =One= member of a religious group? Oh, I'm sorry, was that an attempt at humor? Ok, I'll snicker.

      @Chad Paper does not bring peace. Actions speak louder than words. 200+ dead Palestinian children, teens, toddlers and babies, and not a single soldier in jail for crimes that would have landed any US soldier accused of similar acts in front of a firing squad at Leavenworth. Please, go parrot somewhere else, ignorant boy.

      @Derf Shoo. Back under your rock.

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

      If it's all on paper, then why do you believe what you read and make quotes about statistics that are from PAPER. You really have no idea. Which is obvious because you have had to defend yourself in your last post from 3 people. Palestinians get killed when they incite violence, that's how it works when Israelis defend themselves.

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

      "jews treat the Palestinians in Gaza"

      You mean by "the Jews" in a very unpopular move, giving the Gaza strip to the palastinians to show that they are serious about peace and the thank you was electing a terrorist as their leader and shooting rockets at the Israelis as a thank you? That treatment?

      Are you another that the only Jew you like is the dead one hanging in your church that you kneel and pray to?

      October 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • James

      How are a bunch of american dentists now israeli citizens? not all jews are israelis and not all israelis are jews

      October 16, 2012 at 2:25 am |
  10. Rick

    More joy and happiness brought to you by Religion..........seems like "christians" have soooo much to be proud of. Remember this when you talk about "muslims". ALL religions are designed to control, dominate and subjugate....... Fairy tales and lies designed to divide and destroy.

    October 14, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Dave

      Agree 100%! Prince of Peace my rear end. Same for the other "gods" out there. Pass the collection plate please. Believe in MY god or you will face eternal damnation! Really? Then Rudolph the red nosed reindeer just took a dump in my yard.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  11. harry

    Oh Lord, another Jewish sad story........

    October 14, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Bob

      Yes... And unfortunately for most of humanity, stories like this are true.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  12. DavidJ

    It's so scary that after so many years anti-Semitism is still alive and growing here. That's why it needs to be fought now as strongly as it has been before.

    October 14, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • snowboarder

      as with any ethnic or religious intolerance.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • sybaris

      Religion should not be tolerated.

      Religion and the worship of god(s) requires ignorance to perpetuate. Why would you allow your child to be brainwashed by VBS/Sunday School and believe in things that are fundamentally wrong?

      October 14, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Ghenghis73

      Yes, acts of hate against any people should not be tolerated, should be stopped, and ended. The best means of doing this is to teach all of our children that it is wrong to hate someone for how they look on the outside.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  13. Plumbline

    Zechariah 1:16
    ‘Therefore thus says the LORD: “I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it,” says the LORD of hosts, “And a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.”’

    October 14, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Dave

      Religion is root of all evil.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • snowboarder

      dave – it is not the root of all evil, but it certainly makes it easy to divide a populace.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • harry

      Dave, i agree....religion has caused more deaths than any other thing....it should be banned.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Alex

      The Bible, I read that and other books sometimes, but mostly I just draw and observe life, it is my nature.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  14. Obama

    Nice work, CNN! Ignore our friends the Taliban and focus on the nasty Christians.

    I'll need the Muslim votes.

    Of course, don't tell ANYONE what Muslims do to gay people, when they catch them.

    That little problem will just have to wait until after I am elected.

    Or will it?

    October 14, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • dan

      You are insane.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Rick

      You are exactly the definition of a bigoted Religious pig I was referring to.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Sheeps

      How typical of a kool Aid drinker to drag Islam in any subject. What the hell this article have to do with muslims?

      October 15, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  15. Manny Friedman

    We Jews are a funny breed. We love to brag about every Jewish actor. Sometimes we even pretend an actor is Jewish just because we like him enough that we think he deserves to be on our team. We brag about Jewish authors, Jewish politicians, Jewish directors. Every time someone mentions any movie or book or piece of art, we inevitably say something like, “Did you know that he was Jewish?” That’s just how we roll.

    We’re a driven group, and not just in regards to the art world. We have, for example, AIPAC, which was essentially constructed just to drive agenda in Washington DC. And it succeeds admirably. And we brag about it. Again, it’s just what we do.

    But the funny part is when any anti-Semite or anti-Israel person starts to spout stuff like, “The Jews control the media!” and “The Jews control Washington!”

    Suddenly we’re up in arms. We create huge campaigns to take these people down. We do what we can to put them out of work. We publish articles. We’ve created entire organizations that exist just to tell everyone that the Jews don’t control nothin’. No, we don’t control the media, we don’t have any more sway in DC than anyone else. No, no, no, we swear: We’re just like everybody else!

    Does anyone else (who’s not a bigot) see the irony of this?

    Let’s be honest with ourselves, here, fellow Jews. We do control the media. We’ve got so many dudes up in the executive offices in all the big movie production companies it’s almost obscene. Just about every movie or TV show, whether it be “Tropic Thunder” or “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” is rife with actors, directors, and writers who are Jewish. Did you know that all eight major film studios are run by Jews?

    Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good. (photo credit: CC BY-SA Angela George/Wikimedia Commons)

    But that’s not all. We also control the ads that go on those TV shows.

    And let’s not forget AIPAC, every anti-Semite’s favorite punching bag. We’re talking an organization that’s practically the equivalent of the Elders of Zion. I’ll never forget when I was involved in Israeli advocacy in college and being at one of the many AIPAC conventions. A man literally stood in front of us and told us that their whole goal was to only work with top-50 school graduate students because they would eventually be the people making changes in the government. Here I am, an idealistic little kid that goes to a bottom 50 school (ASU) who wants to do some grassroots advocacy, and these guys are literally talking about infiltrating the government. Intense.

    Now, I know what everyone will say. That everyone tries to lobby. Every minority group and every majority group. That every group has some successful actors and directors. But that’s a far call from saying that we run Hollywood and Madison Avenue. That the Mel Gibsons of the world are right in saying we’re deliberately using our power to take over the world. That we’ve got some crazy conspiracy going down.

    Okay. Fine. So some of that is kooky talk.

    But let’s look at it a bit deeper.

    Maybe it’s true: everyone lobbies. Maybe it’s true there are actors of every ethnicity out there. But come on. We’re the ones who are bragging about this stuff all the time. Can’t we admit that we’re incredibly successful? Can’t we say it to the world?

    I’ll give my theory for why Jews don’t want to talk about their control of the media.

    First of all, as much as Jews like to admit that so many of them are successful, and that so many of them have accomplished so much, they hate to admit that it has to do with they’re being Jewish. Maybe they’ll admit that it has something to do with the Jewish experience. But how many Jews will admit that there is something inherently a part of every single one of them that helps them to accomplish amazing things?

    The ADL chairman, Abe Foxman, was interviewed in a great article about the subject and he said that he “would prefer people say that many executives in the industry ‘happen to be Jewish.’” This just about sums up the party line.

    The truth is, the anti-Semites got it right. We Jews have something planted in each one of us that makes us completely different from every group in the world. We’re talking about a group of people that just got put in death camps, endured pogroms, their whole families decimated. And then they came to America, the one place that ever really let them have as much power as they wanted, and suddenly they’re taking over. Please don’t tell me that any other group in the world has ever done that. Only the Jews. And we’ve done it before. That’s why the Jews were enslaved in Egypt. We were too successful. Go look at the Torah — it’s right there. And we did it in Germany too.

    This ability to succeed, this inner drive, comes not from the years of education or any other sort of conditional factors, but because of the inner spark within each Jew.

    Now, the reason groups like the ADL and AIPAC hate admitting this is because, first of all, they are secular organizations. Their whole agenda is to prove that every Jew is the same as every other person in the world. I cannot imagine a more outlandish agenda. No, we’re different. We’re special.

    And clearly, that whole thing about big Jewish noses was totally blown out of proportion. (illustrative photo: Abir Sultan/Flash 90)

    Of course, people hate when anyone says this. They assume that if you’re saying that Jews are special, it somehow implies that they’re better.

    To be honest, I’m not really sure what the word “better” even means. What I do know is that being special simply means a person has a responsibility to do good.

    I think that’s the real reason most Jews are so afraid to admit that there’s something inherently powerful and good about them. Not because they’re afraid of being special. But because they’re afraid of being responsible. It means that they’re suddenly culpable when they create dirty TV shows that sully the spiritual atmosphere of the world. It means that things can’t just be created for the sake of amusement or fun or even “art.”

    Suddenly, we can’t screw up the world.

    The interesting thing is that Jews have done so much for the world in so many other ways. They’ve moved forward civil rights; they’ve helped save lives in Darfur, Haiti and just about everywhere else.

    But that’s not enough. Fixing the world physically is only half the battle.

    Our larger battle, the harder battle, is elevating the world spiritually. And this is what the people that fight with every inch of their soul to prove that Jews are just the same as everyone else are afraid of. It means that we can no longer just “express ourselves.” We’ll have to start thinking about the things we create and the way we act. It means we’ll have to start working together. It means we’ll have to hold one other, and ourselves, to a higher standard.

    The time has come, though. We no longer have to change our names. We no longer have to blend in like chameleons. We own a whole freaking country.

    Instead, we can be proud of who we are, and simultaneously aware of our huge responsibility — and opportunity.

    * * *
    From the Times of Israel Blog

    October 14, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Rick

      You should look up "C Street" before you run your mouth. ALL RELIGIONS ARE EVIL.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • harry

      This is a great article. Most of it true.

      I think we should either become a part of Israel or Israel should become our 51st state. It will be a smooth transition as most of the things are in place anyway.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Manny Friedman

      Rick, C Street is a zionist base of power, yes.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Dood

      Hmmmmm, maybe I should convert!

      October 14, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Shlomi


      Your response is very well written - but I suspect you are using that as a pseudonym. AIPAC as a "Elders of Zion" reference? No self-respecting Jew would EVER make that connection.

      You do, however, bring up an interesting point. Yes, there are a lot of Jews in the entertainment industry, and have been since before the movie industry was born. Part of this has to do with tradition: Yiddish theater, from which Vaudeville was born, was very popular among all populations - kind of like the Mexican telenovellas or Korean soap operas are now. When movies first started Jews naturally went to Hollywood, since many of the first movies were retelling of staged plays.

      The whole actor thing has roots that go back to Europe and to America even into the 60s: Jews were forbidden by law from owning land in Europe, and were discriminated in buying land in America. So we became traders and merchants, diamond dealers and tailors. And actors. And bankers, since "good" Christians weren't allowed to charge "usury" for risky loans, but Jews were. And so yes, we stuck together in professions. Helping each other out.

      Jews tend to stick together and help each other out. A new family to a community that makes even the smallest connection to the local Jewish community will generally be welcomed with open arms. We stick together, help each other out.... kind of like the Mormons, to use an example from your vernacular.

      We still do. I won't choose a Jew over someone else to fill a position, but I'll look at a resume forwarded to me from someone in the Jewish community, even if that bypasses HR. I'll take the hour or three to sit down and help someone new to town connect up with the services they need And introduce them to my fellow Jews in my line of work to help them land a position.

      Perhaps its that jealousy that drives this "Jews own the media/ Jews own the banks." These are blatantly anti-Semitic - and idiotic - characterizations, akin to all blacks good at dancing or all whites in the KKK. Yes, we help one another. Much more than Christians professing their brotherly love for each other.

      And for the record: AIPAC isn't a media or banking thing: it's a fanatical lobby supporting Israel's actions no matter how heinous. And as an Israeli I have the right to make that criticism.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Jurek

      @Shlomi said

      "Jews tend to stick together and help each other out. A new family to a community that makes even the smallest connection to the local Jewish community will generally be welcomed with open arms. We stick together, help each other out.... kind of like the Mormons, to use an example from your vernacular.

      We still do. I won't choose a Jew over someone else to fill a position, but I'll look at a resume forwarded to me from someone in the Jewish community, even if that bypasses HR"

      I was accused of pure unadulterated antisemitism for suggesting that such a thing might be happening.

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

      If things are not created for the sake of fun, amusement or "art", then why should they be created? I would have thought, at long time ago, that the creation of 'art' is in itself somehow noble or worthwhile? Maybe I still believe this.

      There is something about the style of writing that it stacatto and jumpy (probably not the best word). One idea is presented rapidly after another so that the effect is almost aggressive or 'rapid fire'. The paragraphs are short and clipped as opposed to some prose writers who write long, descriptive, maybe fluid paragraphs.

      When the term 'dirty TV shows' was used, I instantly thought of 'Married with Children'. That show was in pretty bad taste but when I was ten I thought it was hilarious for some reason. That was 20 years ago thought so was probably not what was being specifically referenced.

      My own writing is a bit disjointed, going from one topic to the next without transitional phrases. Maybe I should put more thought into something that the entire world can read but I did not, apperently.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • john

      the sad part is that the anti semites dodnt appreciate what we jews contributed to america nd the world

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

      Thank you CNN for covering this. The good news is that Emory has changed. It now is an open, accepting university where people of all beliefs and races are welcome. I am disappointed, but not surprised, that some of the anonymous posters here are so blatantly antisemitic in their statements.

      I would like to recommend to CNN that they require real names and link postings to published social network accounts or email addresses. I think this would cut down on the hate speech that seems to always show up with articles like this.

      October 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Jeremiah Johnson

      "We’re talking an organization [AIPAC] that’s practically the equivalent of the Elders of Zion."

      Only a Jew could be so funny!

      October 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • John


      October 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  16. Soor Kothari

    This article creates hope in me that we've evolved.

    The comments prove that I'm naive.

    October 14, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  17. Sam A.

    If Jesus was a Jew then Christians are Jewish, and therefore, logically speaking, Christianity is Judaism.

    October 14, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Lilith

      Christianity is literally the evolution of Judaism .. nothing new there. BTW, Islam is based on the old testament too.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Ned

      *Waaah* Wrong, thanks for playing

      October 14, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • snowboarder

      sam – jew is an ethnicity. judaism and christianity are religions. christianity is an offshoot of judaism. call it "reformed" judaism.

      what religion do you practice?

      October 14, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • ahMEmon

      Christianity is an extension of Judaism, much like (snicker) Mormon(ism?) is an extension (hahaha) of Christianity.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Sam A.


      So Judaism is a religion but members of this religion are an ethnicity while Christianity is also a religion and members of this religion are... not an ethnicity! What a logical contradiction.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • sybaris

      The Nazi's didn't kill Jews because of their religion, they killed them because of their ethnicity.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • snowboarder

      sam – you have got to be kidding me. are you trolling or are you really this uninformed?

      jewish as an ethnicity tracing its lineage to members of the jewish kingdom and supposedly to abraham. you can be an ethnic jew and not practice judaism the religion. you can also be non-ethnically jewish, but practice judaism.

      there is no common christian ethnicity.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Sam A.


      Lets get this right this time around.. you said "jewish as an ethnicity" and you said "you can also be non-ethnically jewish, but practice judaism."

      So, according to what you said, you can be Jewish and an ethnicity and you can be Jewish and a non-ethnicity.

      NOW this is truly logically contradictory.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • snowboarder

      sam – not contradictory at all. think about it for a while and you will eventually get it.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Gordon

      Christianity actually completes Judaism. What is missing in Judaism (first coming of Messiah) has been completed. The old religion just won't accept it.

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

      gordon – like mormonism completes christianity?

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

      Jesus was not a jew.

      October 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Heywood


      Jesus was not a jew.

      the world is not round and the sun is not hot. I understand.

      Go study the picture, "The Last Supper". Find out what that was and you may see things a bit differently.
      Sam, he was Jewish until his last breath then you guys took over, but he was a Jew, born raised and died that way. Hope that dosent ruin your Monday

      October 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  18. Jurek

    Even today in Poland where there are few Jews they gravitate to professions and seek administrative positions where they can provide preferential treatment to their own kind. This is natural. They've certainly learned to look out for each other after centuries of ill-treatment by the world. Quotas are the only way to deal with a group that is trying to game the system for the benefit of the group.

    October 14, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • mombo jombo

      Your comment is pure unadulterated antisemitism.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • rose

      I have not met a Jewish person who was not a hard working individual.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Palette

      It is true in my observation, but also well-deserved. Jews have been persecuted in ways that no other race, creed, or religion can come close to. As a result, who can blame them in the slightest for "looking out for their own"? No one else ever has, although I personally believe they're taking some of their nationalism a bit far (re: Palestinian settlements).

      I have been to business networking meetings with a Jewish friend & client and discovered that I was the only non-Jew in the room. More than once. I felt honored in a way, that he thought to include me in what was clearly a closed circle.

      October 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  19. 633music

    I lived in the South for many years, and I always blamed the church's for not teaching these people what Jesus really taught, they were fake then and they still are.
    Breeding grounds for hate, bigotry and ignorance.

    October 14, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  20. HenryMiller

    Religion rears its ugly head again.

    October 14, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Beavis

      haha .. he thaid Religion rears .. huha

      October 14, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Dave

      Agree 100%. Religion is the root of most evil in the world today. The suffering caused in the name of one god or another is sickening.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Rick

      Dave....absolutely TRUE. Religion is there to pacify the spineless cowards that fear their own shadow because they are completely ignorant of the world around them.....pathetic.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • 01000 2300100101

      that's what she said

      October 14, 2012 at 9:52 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.