Dear Brandeis community,
In lieu of a traditional word of the week, I wanted to share with you an email I received this week from a parent at our neighboring KZV Armenian School. Many of you will recall that, having heard the news of Armenian schools in Los Angeles being vandalized with Turkish flags, our student community board led us in raising an Armenian flag on our courtyard flagpoles this week. On Monday, Ruby R.-A. reached out to Grace Andonian, KZV’s principal, with this message:
Dear KZV Armenian School,
Here in the Brandeis community we are so upset to hear this news of vandalism. It is tragic that these hate crimes keep happening in our modern world. I am a member of our student community board and hold the office of Jewish Voice in the middle school. My name is Ruby R.-A. and I am an 8th grader. I want you to know that all of the students, teachers, and families are here for you. To show our solidarity with you, we will display the Armenian flag in our courtyard beside the United States and Israeli flags all week. You will not be able to see it from the road, but please know that it is there. We will always be here to stand with you, we are truly a brotherhood.
And yesterday, I received this note in response:
Dear Dr. Glass,
This afternoon, Principal Andonian shared your message regarding Brandeis School’s response to the hate crimes perpetrated recently in Los Angeles. We are parents of a 7th grader at KZV, trying to simultaneously instill in our daughter a deeper understanding and sense of pride about her people’s rich heritage, and also an appreciation of other cultures and civilizations found within the wonderful and rich mosaic of San Francisco and our adopted nation.
As the grandson of four genocide survivors, I carry the pain of our forefathers, and have always felt a connection or kinship with the Jewish community, in part due to the commonality of our history and the fact that both of our people have been dehumanized in order to justify and pave the way for our wholesale slaughter, as well as the continuing hostility which is frequently manifested against us all, as was the case in the horrific events at Tree of Life. This connection may also be attributed to the critical role played by Ambassador Henry Morgenthau in mobilizing Americans to respond to the Armenians’ plight, and he is regarded as a hero and savior.
Acts of hate represent an offense against all of us collectively, while expressions of solidarity, such as yours, serve to assuage the inflicted harm. As an American, an Armenian, a former SF Human Rights Commissioner, part of the Brotherhood Way community, I am heartened and deeply appreciative of the gesture by you, Ruby and the Brandeis community. Clearly, you are succeeding in fostering and nurturing generations of future leaders with the types of values which will serve to elevate our society.
I am bursting with my own gratitude for our school, our students, and our community. Here’s to acts of solidarity that bring us all closer, my friends.