by George J Elbaum
Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) is a San Francisco Bay Area social services organization whose mission statement is “Serving individuals and families of all faiths and backgrounds, guided by the Jewish value of caring for those in our community most in need.” As such, JFCS carries a special responsibility within the Jewish community for reaching out to children, the aged, those with special needs, and for the resettlement and acculturation of refugees and immigrants.
Among its many services, the JFCS provides the facilities and arranges presentations on the Holocaust for visiting student groups. My presentation today was to 17 students from the University of San Francisco taking a course entitled Jews, Judaism, and Jewish Identities, taught by Professor Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, who is the Director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice at University of San Francisco.
My talk was arranged by Nikki Bambauer, JFCS Holocaust Center’s Program Coordinator, who also ably handled my iPhone to photograph the event. Thank you, Nikki 😊!
A couple of weeks after the talk I received a page of USF stationery from Professor Tapper with his “Thank you” note plus those from the dozen+ students attending my talk, each note one or two sentence long. Reading these notes, I found in most of them a sentence or two that really appealed to me, so I excerpted these and added them to my post (below).
- I really appreciated how you vulnerably expressed your feelings. I will never forget your story.
- I cannot ever begin to imagine the trials you have had to go through to become the man you are today.
- I really appreciate you feeling vulnerable enough to share.
- Please never stop telling your story, and thank you so much for educating us.
- You inspire me so much.
- Your speech was incredibly powerful and I appreciate how open you wee with us.
- Your emotion is so raw after so many years, and to show the emotion takes a lot of strength.