After we left the historical marker unveiling at Cory UMC, we raced over to the City Club of Cleveland to attend a forum that featured Mr. David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) whose mission is “to safeguard the welfare and security of Jews; to strengthen the basic principles of democracy and pluralism around the world; and to enhance the quality of Jewish life.”
Certainly, we admire Mr. Harris for his efforts to build bridges between peoples as evidenced by his leading a groundbreaking delegation of Muslims and Jews to visit Auschwitz in 2020 and his role in helping Jews emigrate from the Soviet Union which was done prior to assuming his current post at the AJC.
For sure, today marked his third appearance at the City Club and he used this time to discuss his background as the child of refugees who fled Europe during the Holocaust and eventually re-settled in the United States and how it inspired him to assume be the outstanding activist for human rights that he is today.
During his speech, he also strongly cautioned us against political extremism and living in the “bubbles” of “intellectually gated communities” which exclude us from respecting viewpoints other than our own.
For us, however, as attorneys who help people immigrate to the United States, our favorite section of Mr. Harris’ address involved him describing life in the household where he grew up in which four different languages were spoken at extended family gatherings and a sentence might start in English but end in either French, German, Russian, or Yiddish.
Nevertheless, all participants were united by the conviction that they were truly blessed to be allowed to live in the United States and be given access to the opportunities that so many take for granted.
Most definitely, we had to take full advantage of every green light to get to the City Club in a timely fashion and lost even more time when we discovered, after reaching our destination, that we had left our cell phone, which we need to take photos, in our car so we had to hastily backtrack before we could finally prepare to enjoy lunch.
Then, when we were finally ready to sit down, we discovered almost all seats were taken but fortunately for us, our friends at the ROMEO table just happened to have a spare chair which they gladly offered, and it was a pleasure to sit with them.
Incidentally, we found out ROMEO stands for “retired old men eating out” which is a congregation we plan to permanently join in the not-so-distant future.