Letters to the editor

Sept. 11 commemoration was a Hillel group effort

Dear Editor:

Thank you so much for displaying April Samuelson’s article so prominently about Hillel’s Sept. 11 commemoration. We were honored to provide the campus community with a commemoration.

There were a few errors and omissions that we wanted to clarify. The article reported that it was “just a tent and a couple tables.” Perhaps April missed it, but we had a 20 minute interfaith commemoration ceremony at noon with student and staff participation from United Christian Ministries as well as Hillel. We certainly don’t want our interfaith partners overlooked.

While we wish we had read the names of all 2,996 people that died, we were not able to get through all of them — further evidence of the magnitude of the tragedy. Additionally, I was misquoted as saying “I think it’s part of Jewish tradition to take care of the mourner.” In fact, it’s not something “I think,” it’s something we know, something I spoke about in my comments (copies of which I gave to April) and was the main reason driving our program yesterday. On Sept. 11 we are all mourners — we all needed comfort Monday. Hillel was honored to provide a portion of this for the campus.

It was also unfortunate that our written materials went unnoticed as they were a key element of the program. In addition to passing out more than 1,000 buttons, which read “9/11 Never Again” (the wording was misquoted in the photo caption) we passed out palm cards which prompted students to reflect — and encouraged them to “seize the moment” and live life with the awareness that everyday is a chance to leave your legacy on the world.

Unfortunately, the tragedy of Sept. 11 was 2,996 people’s last day in this world. Recognizing that we never know when ours will be, Jewish tradition focuses on our actions in this world and encourages us to make the most of each and every day.

I hope that we were able to be a physical space for students to grieve and reflect. I hope that the more than 1,000 people who wore buttons and read our materials found meaning in the day. I hope that we honored all those affected by Sept. 11.

Zichronim L’vrachot — may their memory be for a blessing.

Jennifer Chestnut

Executive Director

Hillel at Kent State University

Humans, not technology, are the key to retention

Dear Editor:

The Tues., Sept. 12, article titled “Retention on the agenda” was old news in many ways.

This issue has been batted around for too long and never resolved. But, then, an actual “plan” has never been put in place for long enough where it could be evaluated and judged effective, or not.

Has it?

If true, that’s both sad and shows a lack of leadership, or something, from on high.

In any case, the article mentioned e-mail listservs as an approach to create a “more focused feeling for each student.”

That thinking is what has NOT led to a solution to the problem. The computer, technology in general, does not invite “feeling.” It is so far removed from one-on-one student/teacher contact and that’s what students need, especially freshmen, who matriculate on this huge and greatly populated campus.

People need the human touch — someone who listens, tries to help — not a keyboard.

Has anyone truly looked into establishing a mentoring program involving all teachers, no exceptions for research or publishing, and students?

Marti Webster


English department