May 1, 2010
This Thursday, author, activist, Holocaust survivor, and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel spoke to a sold-out crowd in Bailey Hall. The line outside of Bailey started forming long before the doors opened, so I owe a major shout-out to my friend Kyle for securing such excellent seats! It was amazing to see so much of the Cornell community taking advantage of an opportunity to hear Dr. Wiesel, even if it meant a little extra planning for us.
The talk was as beautiful and inspirational as one would expect from him. Still, having read a couple of his books didn’t really prepare me for how moving it was to see him in person and hear his words in his own voice. I also had never heard him describe his time in America: he saw our country in some of the darkest periods of the Civil Rights struggle. The questions he graciously fielded from the audience were also interesting, challenging, and sincere: an Ithaca-area middle school teacher who has taught Night to over 800 students asked for a takeaway from the book straight from the source. I can’t do him justice, of course, but I think the conclusion was that it is a book of despair but also a book of hope.
Also great was getting to see my friend Eleanor introduce Dr. Wiesel. As president of Cornell Hillel, she had a huge hand in planning the entire event, and she and the other organizers of the event did a beautiful job onstage.
For a great run-down of his talk, check out the Cornell Sun’s coverage.