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November 12, 1993 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-11-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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here was a shattering. It
seemed to go on for a few
minutes, like a shower of
broken glass. Everybody
was paralyzed."
Jennifer Epstein, program-
ming director for the B'nai
B'rith Hillel in East Lansing,
was working in her office Mon-
day night when vandals threw
a brick and a stone through the
large window near Hillel's front
door.
"I ran out of my office to see
what happened," she said. "By
the time I called police, a neigh-
bor had already reached them."
The episode took place at 9:30
p.m. Witnesses had seen a car
with four unidentified males
drive up to the Hillel building,
then depart.
On Tuesday, police had no
suspects. Damage to the win-
dow is estimated at $150. Cap-
tain Stephen Chubb of the East
Lansing Police Department said
the word "Palestine" was writ-
ten on the stone.
"It's been a long, long time
since we've had an incident of
this nature in East Lansing," he
said.
Hillel's windows are broken
at least once a year — usually
with beer bottles thrown by
drunken party-goers, Ms. Ep-
stein said.
But this instance of vandal-
ism struck an especially disso-
nant chord in Jews at Michigan
State University. It came on the
eve of a campus-wide Holocaust
memorial event, sponsored by
six different university organi-
zations, including Hillel.
The highly publicized memo-
rial, which took place Tuesday,
commemorated the 55th an-
niversary of Kristallnacht — the
night of the broken glass. In No-
vember of 1938, Nazis went on
a rampage, destroying the
homes, businesses and syna-
gogues of Jews in Germany and
Austria.
"I know it's different now. I
know it's not state-sanctioned.
But the vandalism against Hil-
lel made me realize that anti-
Semitism is still out there," Ms.
Epstein said. "We don't have
those kinds of rocks in our front
yard. The vandals must have
brought the stone with them. It
had to be premeditated."
Mark Finkelstein, executive
director of Hillel, said he also
believes the vandals intended
to send a message.
"There are times when it is
simply a product of drunkness
and times when the vandalism

is a product of anti-Semitism.
This is one of those times," he
said.
Lee June, assistant provost
for racial, ethnic and multicul-
tural issues at MSU, called the
incident regrettable. Students
expressed dismay. Staci Bloch,
an MSU student involved in
Jewish groups on campus, said:
"I think it's disgusting that
55 years later, in America, on a
college campus — which is sup-
posed to be open to free speach
— that nothing has changed.
It's still the night of the broken
glass."

"It's still the night
of the broken
glass."

—Staci Bloch

An impetus for Tuesday's
memorial was a letter to the ed-
itor in the State News in mid-
October. The letter was written
by revisionist Bradley Smith,
who represents the Committee
for Open Debate On the Holo-
caust. In the letter, Mr. Smith
denies that historians can prove
that Nazis tried to perpetrate
genocide against the Jews.
Mr. Smith wrote a similar let-
ter that was published in the
University of Michigan Daily in
October.



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