Dear HGI Friends and Supporters,
I am writing to share the sad news: Aryeh Ziering, 28, grandson of Herman and Lea Ziering who was killed on October 7th during the massacre in Southern Israel. I met Arye and his family at Debby Ziering's home a few years before we started the work on the Herman and Lea Ziering archive and exhibition. In honor of him and his family, we will hold a special memorial when the family is ready.
I write to you as the Director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College. The horrible massacre that took place in Israel of the elderly, young, and children by Hamas is a mass atrocity. I condemn these actions as a Muslim; this is not what Islam is built on. I know I am not alone in praying for the Israeli victims who have been taken hostage and hope that they will come out safe.
I am also worried about the innocent civilians in Gaza and I pray for all who have family and friends in Gaza and our Lasallian Christian Brothers at Bethlehem University. Every day this awful situation continues to escalate and I pray for a peaceful future when we no longer experience violence.
I realize that this war has caused strife and tensions between and among Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others here in the United States which is already polarized. We must not allow further polarization. We must continue to peace-build, share our empathy, and acknowledge the suffering of others. If we are divided, we all suffer. I realize It is difficult for many to stand together or even to have a conversation today and perhaps for many days and months ahead, but I believe that we in the United States and our friends and allies around the world must take into account how much work we have done to bridge our differences and speak up for one another.
This situation is deeply painful. I feel traumatized by worrying for friends in Israel and Gaza. In teaching the Holocaust and Religion class this semester, I cannot stand idly by when Jews are terrorized in their own homes, butchered, shot, and gassed in dark shelters, and mutilated. The trauma is and will continue to be severe. I plead for us all to pray for peace. Let us see all of our humanity.
I pray for Ayreh Ziering as Herman and Lea Ziering’s grandson who was a blessing and light to the world.
Mehnaz M. Afridi