Can’t let Hate Permeate
When Levi Bloom was accepted to Harvard University, it was the happiest day of his life. He dreamed of becoming an esteemed Lawyer, and he knew Harvard Law School had a phenomenal reputation for producing and developing brilliant legal minds.
Levi would get his Under Graduate degree at Harvard and then he would walk the hallowed halls of Langdell Hall. Levi had been placed in a room in Grays Hall. The Residence was not far from Annenberg Hall where meals were served.
The first month at Harvard was a blast. There were dorm parties and intriguing events to attend. Levi was invited to an off campus party in October. The girl who invited him was Wanda Kiles. She sat beside him in his Government Policy course. Wanda shared an apartment with two other girls on Brattle Street.
He arrived at eight thirty pm, and was immediately shown in by Wanda and introduced to her roommates Melissa and Ji. Most of the people at the party (there were about ten) were in the kitchen, eating cookies and drinking beer. Melissa who was cute followed him in to the kitchen and offered him beer, wine or pop. He chose a diet coke.
‘’So Levi, how are you enjoying Harvard?’’ Levi smiled ‘’I’m loving every second of it, I’ve got my own room in residence and my classes are interesting. I have a few of the Professors a little more left than I’m used to, but I am having a lot of fun. What about you? Melissa looked around and whispered ‘’Things would be perfect if it wasn’t for the Anti-Semitism.’’ Levi was surprised, ‘’Seriously, my name’s Levi Bloom and I haven’t felt that kind of hatred or problem.’’ Melissa looked around and nodded ‘’Okay’’ and then she walked away. Levi felt stunned.
About a half hour later two guys walked in to the party and immediately yelled out an announcement that shocked Levi. ’We have to celebrate tonight. The Zionists got the shit kicked out of them in Israel by Hamas. Thousands got killed. The Palestinian Revolution is happening ‘’From the River To The Sea Palestine will be Free.’’ A guy who standing beside him repeated the chant and so did a bunch of people in the apartment including Wanda. It made the hair on Levi’s neck stand up. He could only ask himself ‘’What the Fuck!’’ He looked for Melissa and couldn’t see her.
Levi felt strange. All of a sudden he felt out of place. He was there for a party not some kind of political rally. He walked around the living room, and saw Melissa standing by herself in a corner. ‘’Are you okay?’’ Melissa shook her head. ‘’My roommates Wanda and Ji are huge activists for the Palestinians. They know I’m Jewish and if I try and defend Israel in any way they get vicious pretty fast. I’ve heard some horrible things. I try to go home every other weekend. As soon as this term is over I’m moving out. Wanda hung a Palestinian flag in the hall across from my bedroom. It hasn’t been fun for me.’’ Levi felt a knot in his stomach developing, he didn’t know what to say.
More people arrived at the party, and it was obvious that it was becoming a celebration about the attack against Israel. It was beyond belief. the guy who started the chanting, Herb, was the most vocal supporter.
Almost on cue Wanda came walking over. ‘’Melissa, did you hear the fantastic news. The Palestinians are fighting the Israelis and kicking their asses.’’ She then looked at Levi ‘’You’re not a supporter of the Zio’s are you? I find you a cool guy and I’d be shocked if you supported that Neo-Colonist regime.’’
Levi looked at her and his insides began to ache. ‘’I’m not really into politics, but if people are trying to kill Jewish people, I can’t support it.’’ Wanda laughed, ‘’Hey Ji, come here.’’ Ji and the buffoon Herb who had walked in came over to where they were standing. ‘’Levi here doesn’t like it when Jews are killed, but I bet he doesn’t care when Jews kill Palestinians.’’
Levi looked at Melissa ‘’I didn’t come here for a debate, I came here to enjoy a party. I would never celebrate the deaths of anybody. I think it’s morbid and disgusting.’’ Herb stepped up to within an inch of Levi’s face. ‘’There’s no choice in this battle. Either you support us against the Apartheid Zionists or you are one of them.’’
Melissa took Levi’s hand which was totally unexpected. ‘’Come on Levi, let’s go for a walk.’’ Levi started to walk away and he stopped. He thought about his ancestors who had died in the Holocaust and he knew he couldn’t just abandon his principals because he was being confronted by a boor. ‘’Dude, I think you’re a joke. Israel is a democracy. I actually have family who live there, and you know what, they live with two million Arab Israeli citizens. There are Israeli Arabs who are Doctors, Lawyers and Supreme Court Justices. They also fight terror with the Israeli Defense Forces. There is not one Jew who lives in Gaza. You don’t know your facts.’’
Levi’s statement enraged Herb to the point his face turned red. He walked in front of Levi and stared down. ‘’I go to Harvard Law School piss ant. I know my history and I know about you Jews. I know Hitler was not all wrong about a long of things. I know Osama Bin Laden was not wrong about a lot of things. Jews cause trouble wherever they are and it’s time that it stopped. It all begins with wiping out that facist Zionist state Israel.’’
Levi was in disbelief. This cretinous blonde haired blue eyed Aryan type was in Harvard Law School? It seemed sacrilegious that an intolerant bigot could walk those hallowed halls. Herb started his chant again ‘’From the River To The Sea’’ and all Levi could do was shake his head.
He looked at Melissa and started walking towards her and out the door. Wanda yelled from behind them ‘’Fuck Israel and Fuck The Jews.’’ It was crazy. Had he just walked into a den of Nazis as opposed to students who attended Harvard University.
Levi apologized to Melissa. ‘’I couldn’t and wouldn’t believe there was so much hate in that room. Holy Shit. I’m sorry Melissa, I really never gave Anti-Semitism on campus a thought but I do now. Wow, Wow, that was gross.’’ Melissa looked at him ‘’Trust me, it’s scary to live there. I think that Herb is a young Hitler in training. I don’t know if I’m going to stay at the apartment tonight, they’re pretty worked up about what’s going on in Israel. Add that to the fact they’re smoking and drinking and there could be big trouble if I go back to my room. Maybe I’ll stay at the Studio Allston Hotel. I’ve stayed there before when things got crazy.’’ Levi’s heart sank. There had been incidents before? University was supposed to be about civil discussion of ideas, not bullying and intimidation.
‘’Nope, Melissa, you’ll stay in my room. I’ll sleep on the floor. It’s okay my parents raised me to be a gentleman. Then I’ll go back to your place with you in the morning to make sure everything’s okay.’’
They walked back to Residence and like he promised Levi put some sheets on the floor and Melissa took his bed. He looked up at her from the floor twice during the night and he thought she looked beautiful. In the morning, he excused himself to take a shower, do his personal hygiene routine and change clothes. They went to Annenberg for breakfast and sitting down from them was Herb and Wanda. Herb came walking over. ‘’Hi Asshole. I hope you learned something last night. You don’t fuck with a Harvard Law Student.’’ He then turned and walked away.
After eating eggs, toast and home fries, Levi and Melissa stood up. Wanda waved at Melissa and smiled. It was the phoniest thing Levi had ever seen.
They walked back to the apartment and Ji was there. She hugged Melissa while looking at Levi. ‘’So glad you’re back, we were worried about you, We might not agree on political views but we care about you.’’ Melissa gave a half smile and continued on to her room. The Palestinian Flag hung across from her door. When she and Levi were in the room she shook her head and stamped her foot and whispered ‘’Ugh, Ugh, I hate the hypocrisy and fakeness. Ugh. ‘’ Levi gave her a hug ‘’I uh, have to get to my English Lit lecture, are you going to be okay?’’ Melissa nodded ‘’Yeah, fine, I was glad you were here last night. Thanks for letting me stay at your place.’’ She then gave him a light kiss on his cheek. Levi looked at her ‘’Um, Do you want to hang out Saturday night? I mean you’ve already slept over.’’ Melissa laughed ‘’Yup, one hundred percent. Normally I would go home this weekend, but I’ll stay so we can go out on a proper date.’’ Levi left the apartment happy, which was a completely different feeling than the one he had the night before.
Herb’s words really bothered Levi, so instead of going to his lecture, he went back to his room and sent an email to the Dean of the Law School. He shared everything Herb said and expressed his disappointment with the ethics that were being taught in the Law School. Levi then cc’d the New York Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He finished by sending his email to Fox News.
Levi attended the rest of his lectures and that evening he received a generic email that the incident was being investigated by the Harvard Law School Disciplinary Committee. He received calls from the different media outlets, and shared his story with Fox News who ran with it after talking to Melissa.
Levi had gone from not knowing about Anti-Semitism at Harvard to becoming a tent pole. He received different comments from different people. The most telling and troubling were some Teaching Assistants who made some nasty remarks in ways that were circuitous. Herb was suspended from School for two weeks.
The relationship with Melissa seemed to grow and they enjoyed each others company. Melissa spent at least four nights a week sleeping in Levi’s room. They also did presentations via Hillel and Chabad about what they had experienced.
One week before the end of term, a note was slipped under Levi’s door threatening his life. When he went out in the hall, he noticed for the first time that a huge black swastika had been painted on his door.
Levi finished off his essays and wrote his exams before heading home. The Swastika being a reminder of what happened to him first term. Melissa headed back to Toronto and he flew to his home in Connecticut.
When he got home he showed his Mom and Dad the death letter and the picture of the Swastika on his door. He explained how it had all started on October 7th and had culminated with the note and Swastika. His parents insisted he share the note with Campus Police and Boston Police. They were scared.
When the break was over, neither of Levi’s parents wanted him to go back. He insisted he had to finish the year, there was no choice. He would continue on to get his Under Graduate degree and apply for Law School. He wasn’t going to let anybody destroy his dreams. He would walk around with his head up and eyes open.
Levi had decided what he wanted to do with his career. He no longer wanted to be a Wall Street Lawyer, instead he wanted to be a Prosecutor who went after those who espoused hate. He knew who his first case would center around, it was an idiot named Herb.