Sisterhood Blog

Confessions of a Wesleyan Mom

By Jane Eisner

  • Print
  • Share Share

These were difficult days to be the mother of a Jewish female student at Wesleyan. Nothing, of course, to compare to the utter heartbreak suffered by the family of the young woman who was murdered on Wednesday afternoon as she worked in the campus bookstore. Nothing can compare with losing a daughter, a sister, a friend in such a brutal way.

But that’s what was so terrifying. With one daughter a freshman there now, another daughter a recent graduate, it didn’t take much for me to make the horrifying substitution in my mind. Anxious mothers often say, “It could have been my child.” This time that wasn’t a cliché.

As an active alum myself, Wesleyan’s geography is comfortingly familiar. I know the bookstore where the murder occurred. I know the Bayit, the Jewish center that was evacuated after it was discovered that the alleged killer had threatened to target Jews. My youngest daughter is supposed to room there next year. I know the nearby synagogue in Middletown, where I once worked and where my daughter teaches Hebrew school, which was ordered shut after the attack. Over the years, the landscape of the campus has become like a hometown for me. How dare it be stained with blood?

The irony is that my family is scattered all over the world right now, but the one member most vulnerable was in a small, sleepy Connecticut town.

I come away from this experience with a renewed belief that this nation must do more to curtail the abuse of guns. That an obviously disturbed man should be able to freely own and operate a killing machine is outrageous and ought to be unacceptable. I have no idea when our elected leaders will grow the spine to do the right thing, but the public has to demand much more of them.

My second observation is a rueful one. I’m not prone to wearing the mantle of victim. But I have to reluctantly admit that, as much progress as we’ve made in this society, it is still dangerous to be a woman and a Jew, and especially to be both. We don’t know if the alleged killer really meant to murder Jewish students at my beloved alma mater. All he had to do was write the words and gun down a promising young woman who happened to be Jewish. That was enough to strike terror in this mother’s heart.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Wesleyan, Murder, Guns

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.