Elie Wiesel’s visit brings honor to campus

By Christina Moglioni
October 13, 2006

Shane Evans

When I reserved my ticket for the President’s Convocation honoring Elie Wiesel, I can honestly say that I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into. It was not until the beginning of the week when the entire campus was in a hustle to prepare for the event that I realized the honor that Cabrini should and did feel for hosting such an event.

To be quite honest, I was a little excited and nervous at the same time to be attending a convocation for a man who survived the Holocaust. “He survived the Holocaust”, was all I could think about. What did this man look like? Did he really survive? There were so many questions running through my mind that I couldn’t wait to hear what he would have to say to our community. At first sight, I was amazed at Elie Wiesel. Just to see him you can tell that he is such a proud man and knowing what he has been through, how could he even find a smile?

When the convocation began with Valley Forge Military playing the trumpets, I was immediately moved by the environment. You could sense the anticipation, love and pain in the room. As Elie Wiesel began to speak to us, his voice was calm and friendly. Right away he answered the question that was running through most people’s minds. Why aren’t you mad at the world? His reason for not being mad at the world was as simple as four words. He said, “we have a right”. The right to make decisions based on our experiences. You have the right to be mad or not to be mad. Wiesel has obviously chose to not be mad at the world but make the most of the world that he is fortunate to still be a part of.

Secondly, Wiesel spoke about the books that he has written. I have not read Night, however, I plan on reading this book in the near future. I love how he said that it is not a novel, but a memorial. He told us that every word on every page is true. Even the blank spaces between words are true. I think that is something to really think about. How often do you give the white space any significant meaning? I think that after that statement, I will notice the space between words as more then a blank space, but as having a part of the truth in the writing.

Wiesel finished his speech of hope and in the last sentence I held on to two words in particular. “Give back”. I often find myself trying to do this anyway, but having heard it from someone who has had almost everything taken away from him in the most unimaginable and awful way possible, made me realize that it really is important and possible for everyone to do.

Both of Elie Weisel’s ideas, having a right as well as giving back are two things that I think we can take and relate to everything in the world around us today. We all have a right to our decisions and actions toward what goes on in every situation. Whether it be good or bad, you have the right to your opinion, voice and action. Your right also leads you into what you will do to give back. As our world is struggling in the war on terrorism, we have a right to be a part of the violence or not, we also have a right to give back to the world what has been taken away. We will never get back the innocent lives lost in the Holocast, or the innocent lives lost from terrorism, but we can make an effort to give back to the world that we still have as we try to heal and mend the open wounds of tragedy.

In conclusion, the El Moley Rachamin prayer in memory of the six million killed in the Holocaust was incredible. I have never heard someone sing like that in my life. I did not understand what he was saying, but I followed along with the translation in the book and watched him as he sang and I could feel the power of the prayer for the people who suffered so much.

At that moment I don’t think it mattered if you were Jewish or a survivor, it mattered that you were a human and aware of the Holocaust and the impact that it had on everyone.

I think that Cabrini should rightfully feel pride in having Elie Wiesel speak to our campus and community and I am glad that I attended. I will have a mental picture of such a heroic person in my mind forever.

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Christina Moglioni

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