Ann Arbor Area Community News
The decision by the U-M chapter of Hillel to invite Muslim students to pray at the campus Jewish center ignited an internal uproar, causing the organization to cancel its extension of the olive branch, the Detroit Jewish News reported in its September 29th issue (print edition only).
Hillel officers voted by a small margin to offer Muslim students a place to pray at its facilities. Treasurer of Hillel’s board of governors, sophomore Robert Weisenfeld, resigned in protest.
He said in a letter obtained by the DJN, “If Hillel wants to make Jewish students comfortable, it is certainly not a good idea to attempt a religious mixer with the Muslim students at a Jewish center…Interaction with all kinds of people is wonderful, but at a center for Jews the idea of bringing in a contentious element of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish perspective is generally off kilter.”
The paper reported that many of those who voted in favor of the invitation later apologized.
Hillel’s assistant director, Rabbi Jason Miller, is quoted saying that although this was a good idea “in theory,” it would not be in the center’s interest and that no invitation will ever be sent out.
Weisenfeld was more blunt, however.
“A Jewish center should be for Jews and Jewish prayer,” he said in his letter of resignation, “not a place of refuge for Muslim students to pray to their god [sic].”
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