Jewschool.com: On Schaudenfreude

Originally posted on Jewschool.com.

I work in the Jewish community, at a school in Boston, Massachusetts that has a robust relationship with a sister school in our sister city of Haifa, Israel. Every year, we host a delegation of tenth-graders who spend a week-and-a-half living with our students, learning about what it’s like to be a Jew in the diaspora. While most of the visit takes place during one of our students’ school vacation week, the Israelis usually arrive a few days before school gets out in the states. During these first few days, we (the administrators of the Boston) school spend our days showing the Israeli students and their teachers around town. Our time is split between Jewish sites, from the Federation to the old neighborhoods, and more touristy fare.

A couple of years ago, when it fell to me to plan the tourism segments of the week, someone suggested to me that I take the group to the Mapparium. I have lived in Boston nearly my entire life but had never heard of the Mapparium, much less visited, but it sounded fine, so I booked tickets. When we visited, we had extra time on our hands, so we were also able to work in a tour of the Christian Science Monitor newsroom. I didn’t really know anything about the paper beforehand, but having worked in journalism for a time, I was really struck by the core values of the CSM. In the words of Mary Baker Eddy, the paper’s aim was “to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.” Or, in the words of the paper’s current administration, “our aim is to embrace the human family, shedding light and understanding with the conviction that truth is the beginning to solutions.” Continue reading

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