When I moved to Great Neck, I knew there was a Jewish community here, and I was totally fine with that.
I had learned about the Shanghai Ghetto, where Chinese and Jewish people suffered and struggled from fascism together.
I had heard that Ho Feng Shan saved thousands of Austrian Jews by issuing them visas, even though it was against the orders of his superior in Berlin.
That one moment in history impressed me a lot. When the Nazis pushed Japan to hand over the Shanghai Jews, the Japanese governor was curious and asked, “Why do the Germans hate you so much?”
Without hesitation and knowing that the fate of his community hung on his answer, Reb Kalish answered, “The Germans hate us because we are Orientals.”
The governor, whose face had been stern throughout the confrontation, broke into a slight smile. In spite of the military alliance, he did not accede to the German demand, and the Shanghai Jews were never handed over.
I hope that this harsh situation never happens again to any nation. Six-million Jews were killed in the Holocaust and 14-million Chinese were killed in World War II. We had pain together.
When I moved to Great Neck, I felt confident about our future. I knew that traditionally Jews place a high value on education, just as we Chinese do.
Children are our future. Children are Great Neck’s future.
We all want well-educated kids growing up here—they will make Great Neck better and better.
If we ruin Great Neck schools, if our kids do not get a good education, will Great Neck have a future?
We are neighbors. We suffered the same pain before. We all care about our kids a lot. Should we fight or should we be brothers?