By Rachel Younglai & Siri Agrell
As students from all backgrounds struggle to make sense of last week’s terrorist attacks, leaders of the campus Jewish community are urging racial tolerance. Jack Gryn is the past president of the Jewish Student Association, and current president of the Ryerson-based chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi, a Jewish fraternity that has more than 70,000 members across North America – some of whom are still missing in New York. Despite his personal connection to the tragedy, Gryn discourages the urge to assign blame. “This is not an issue of race,” Gryn says. “We have to do our best to get rid of terrorism, but we have to be careful not to hurt innocent people in the battle.”
Gryn is not alone in his concern. Jacob Moshinsky, president of the Jewish Student Association and third-year marketing student, says that everyone should take equal responsibility for discouraging violent acts. “We are all on the same side right now,” says Moshinsky. “All countries have to make a conscious effort to combat terrorism.” Both Moshinsky and Gryn say that because Israelis constantly live with the fear of violence, they can sympathize with Americans affected by last week’s attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
They say students must consider the impact such violence has on the friends and families of victims, and discourage blind retaliation. “North Americans are having to awaken to the fact that they are not immune to acts of terrorism,” says Moshinsky. “And realize that this is what has been happening to people of Arab and Jewish descent.” Both students stress the importance of understanding and tolerance. “It will be a long and painful process,” says Gryn. “But the progression toward peace needs to be taken around the world.”