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GUEST ROOM | Rejecting Boycott, Extending an Olive Branch

Cornell, an intellectual Garden of Eden, has been my “home away from home” for three miraculous semesters. There is only one other paradisiacal location on earth that is as close to my heart as the Big Red: The State of Israel. I deferred my enrollment to Cornell, resisting the allure of its 25-acre Botanic Gardens, to take a gap year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with its similarly alluring 25-dunams Botanical Garden on Mount Scopus. The miracle of a “nation reborn,” as Israeli author Daniel Gordis characterizes the return of the Jewish people to their homeland, lies at the heart of my deep connection to the State of Israel. I was accepted to Cornell nineteen years after having been born in the Weill Cornell Medical Center; Big Red was my destiny.

Nobel Prize recipient and professor emeritus Roald Hoffmann recounted his experiences as a Holocaust survivor at a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony.

Cornell Professor Shares Personal Experience as Holocaust Survivor

A Cornell professor and Holocaust survivor shared his story of survival during World War II in a ceremony on Wednesday that commemorated Holocaust Remembrance Day. The ceremony, which featured the lighting of six candles to remember the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, was hosted by Cornell Jewish Studies and the Hillel Cultural Programming Committee. Roald Hoffmann, the Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters, Emeritus and recipient of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, recounted how his family was captured by the Nazis, went into hiding and eventually regained freedom in a period of three years. “First of all, I am here,” Hoffmann said, pointing out that it is already remarkable that he survived the Holocaust and could be present for the Cornell event. Born to a Polish Jewish family in 1937, Hoffmann described his journey from growing up in the bloodlands of Nazi-occupied Poland to becoming a Harvard graduate and a world-renowned chemist.