Anti-Semitism at Florida State University

First they came

North Miami Beach resident David Templer copied me with an email that is beyond disturbing.  I asked for and received permission to publish his letter in it’s entirety, which needs no explanation by me.

If you are as outraged as I am, I urge you to speak out by sending emails to FSU in protest of this blatant anti-Semitism!

If not now

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

June 24, 2014
3:25 PM

Subject: Religious insensitivity at FSU

From: David Templer <dlt@templerhirsch.com>

To: “president@fsu.edu” <president@fsu.edu>

CC: “programs@hillelatfsu.org” <programs@hillelatfsu.org>,
“rabbi@templeisraeltlh.org” <rabbi@templeisraeltlh.org>,
“dc@jewishfederations.org” <dc@jewishfederations.org>,
“info@flbog.edu” <info@flbog.edu>,
“jberkun@atjc.org” <jberkun@atjc.org>,
“lizm@fsu.edu” <lizm@fsu.edu>,
“tjennings@fsu.edu” <tjennings@fsu.edu>,
“mcoburn@admin.fsu.edu” <mcoburn@admin.fsu.edu>,
“gscott@fsu.edu” <gscott@fsu.edu>,
“cbakker@fsu.edu” <cbakker@fsu.edu>,
“letters@tallahassee.com” <letters@tallahassee.com>,
“office@aepi.org” <office@aepi.org>

Dear Dr. Stokes:

As the father of a Freshman at FSU I have been looking forward to staying involved with his college experience. Though I was a bit late out of the gate with making my plans to attend Parents Weekend, I was excited to be able to share those days with my son, his friends and their families!

I was stunned to find out that FSU scheduled its Parents Weekend on the most significant Jewish holiday of the year, Yom Kippur. FSU’s religious ignorance, insensitivity and/or intolerance is so violently offensive as to warrant a highly critical public rebuke. I won’t bother to educate FSU on the holy significance of this particular Jewish holiday because it is something that might easily have been discovered if someone had spoken to anyone, including possibly the janitorial staff, of your Department of Religion. More simply, you could have just used Google to examine a religious calendar!

I am trying to imagine whether any significant University event would ever be scheduled on Good Friday or Easter Sunday. Surely not. Someone would have known what those holidays represent and when they were! But, somehow, FSU excuses the intolerable with this posted regret on the Parents Weekend page:

“* Florida State University recognizes that October 3 and 4 coincide with the holy day of Yom Kippur. We sincerely regret any conflict that this may cause with your ability to visit our campus, and as such we ask for your forgiveness.”

“Your ability to visit”? Really? What about your Jewish student population participation?

David L. Templer
Templer & Hirsch
20801 Biscayne Blvd., Ste. 400
Aventura, FL 33180
T: 305.937.2700
F: 305.935.9873
dlt@templerhirsch.com
www.templerhirsch.com

 

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8 Comments

  1. Norman W. Edwards says:

    It’s not Christians vs. Jews but Anti- Faith vs. Any Faith. Thank you for your comments and for publishing former Councilman Templers letter to FSU. While the issue could be perceived as anti-semitism (anti-Jewish), I believe it is larger. There is an entire anti-faith movement taking place. The only reason Christmas and Easter are not on the chopping block is those holidays are presently more ingrained in Federal Holidays; Retail sales advertising; etc. Look to lawsuits filed against religious displays; prayer in school or at government meetings for the true scope of what is occurring here. There are those who want to banish any reference to religion or faith in public. Hence, at the public university, FSU, this is what happened.

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    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      David and I obviously took it personally since we both happen to be Jewish. But, I definitely see your point and agree with you. There is definitely an anti-Faith trend going on in the country. Witness the lawsuits filed to have the word “God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, claiming it’s offensive to atheists. Those same atheists have no problem, however, offending people of faith. As Americans, we have the right to practice any religion – or no religion – that we choose, regardless of anyone else’s opinion. To those who are offended by that I would say, “You have every right to be offended. Have a nice day.”

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    2. Doing more with less says:

      It could also be the result of the excessive cuts throughout every organization. In a world where you have one person doing the job of five people, where experience is no longer seen as an asset and where cost savings trump quality, these things happen often.

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  2. David Templer says:

    I feel it is important to note that since my email went out I have received courteous responses from the Office of Student Affairs and from Hillel@FSU. Both responses appear to be sincere, apologetic and explanatory. Surprisingly, Hillel@FSU defends FSU’s decision. In that my son is now a Freshman at FSU and I am new to the politics of the school, possibly my reaction – though understandable – was too quick.

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    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      David, I don’t think your reaction was “too quick.” I also received a response to my letter, which I assume was the same or similar to one you received. According to Ms. Coburn’s letter, reprinted below, were you made aware of the planned “second family weekend” at the same time the first one was announced? If so, you might have jumped the gun, but if not, why not?

      In addition, Ms. Coburn stated, “It will not happen again.”

      My reaction is, “It should not have happened in the first place.”

      Perhaps I’m not as forgiving as you, David. However, I am alarmed by the global rise in anti-Semitism that I am witnessing, especially in European countries. I do see it spreading here in insidious ways, and I do intend to speak out whenever and wherever it does. Frankly, I don’t care if my reaction is “too quick.” Better that than the reaction of the Jews in Nazi Germany. When I say “NEVER AGAIN,” I mean it!

      Let’s not forget that Christians are also being persecuted and murdered for their faith, as well. This should not be tolerated or ever excused!

      Here is Ms. Coburn’s letter:

      Dear Ms. Kienzle:

      Thank you for your email concerning Parents Weekend 2014. The decision on when to hold Parents Weekend is restricted by many factors, some of which are beyond our control. The football schedule is determined by the ACC conference and the availability of game tickets is determined by market demand. We will have no “single game tickets” – in other words beyond season tickets – for families to purchase for the Clemson, Notre Dame and Florida games. We also know that families prefer us to hold the weekends in October – not too early and not too close the Thanksgiving.

      When we realized that the only option that we really had for Parents Weekend on a football weekend coincided with Yom Kippur, I immediately consulted with our FSU Hillel leadership. Together, we came up with the idea of holding a second family weekend on a non-football weekend for all families who are not able to attend on October 3-4. We do this in the spring with three different weekends designated as “Family Weekends” so families can visit on the one that best suits their schedule. So as you can see on this website: http://pw.union.fsu.edu/ we will have two Parent Weekends this fall, the October 3-4 weekend and October 24-25 weekend. For families that wish to attend a different football weekend, of course that is always an option.

      I sincerely regret that one of the weekends does coincide with Yom Kippur this year. It will not happen again.

      Sincerely,

      Mary B. Coburn
      Vice President for Student Affairs
      313 Westcott Building
      Tallahassee, FL 32306-1340

      (850) 644-5590

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    2. Mike Dejesus says:

      David you feel Offended, but why did you Write ” I won’t bother to educate FSU on the holy significance of this particular Jewish holiday because it is something that might easily have been discovered if someone had spoken to anyone, including possibly the janitorial staff” as to say that the Janitorial staff does not usually know anything?
      You see we tend to write before thinking. Kind of what happen with the university not thinking about the Jewish holiday. Be just as sensitive to others as you want others to be sensitive to you.

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  3. NMB Lady says:

    Did it not occur to anyone to ask them why they did this rather than say FSU is “anti-semetic”? I am tired, so very, very tired of the name calling that goes on in the when someone is upset about one thing or another. Why does everyone assume a motive?

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  4. I am the mother of a new graduate of UCF. One year, Parent’s Weekend was also scheduled over one of the Jewish high holy days. UCF is the 2nd largest public university in the US and has the largest Jewish population in the state of FL. When I called the University and questioned that, I was answered with apologies, explanations that Hillel was holding services Fri & Sat, etc.

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