Monday, 15 May 2028

3) First contact: My letter to the Rambam Mesivta School

From: Paul Barford 
Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 12:55 PM
Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman,
Principal Rabbi Yotav Eliach

Subject: Jan Gross, "the Poles" and Xenophobic attacks by Rambam Mesivta students
Dear Sirs,
I am writing with regard to the event recently staged by staff and students of the Rambam Mesivta outside the Polish Consulate in New York. This is receiving a lot of attention in Poland, though I am not sure that this is the kind of renown you sought for your school by staging this.
While we can all support attempts to increase the historical awareness of the younger generation, this does require the teachers actually knowing and understanding the material. In this case we can see that both teachers and students are lacking even the basic information about the situation in Poland in the 1940s. All you have done is to draw international attention to the shortcomings of the education your school has to offer and promote divisiveness and intolerance. I really cannot think what your aims actually were. You clearly are confused about some quite basic facts about the Second World War in eastern Europe, and have the facts completely wrong about Jan Gross. Does Rabbi Friedman even read Polish?
I have blogged my thoughts on the offensive display staged by your school. You are invited to comment there if you wish.
Please can you draw the attention of the student named as Joni - the only one interviewed who tried to explain what (he thought) he was there for - my invitation to him? (You may pass on this email address to him). Let us replace the loudmouth ignorant opinion which seems to be revealed to be your teaching methods with first-hand observation of the material facts.
There is no  "love of learning [... or…] sensitivity and concern for others" visible here. There is only a display of crude ignorance, unconcern for the facts and certainly absolutely zero sensitivity or concern for the effects on others of your false accusations.  The School really does owe the Polish community an apology, whence all this hatred? .
Yours sincerely
Paul Barford

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