By Marla Morris (auth.)
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Extra resources for Jewish Intellectuals and the University
Jewish children were called “dirty Jews” by Gentile children. It is rather shocking that children can be so cruel. Derrida was kicked out of school—as a young child—because he was Jewish, during the Vichy years. This fact is also something hard to fathom. Why would children be expelled from school? Because of these experiences, Derrida says that he is extremely sensitive to any forms of racism. Perhaps this is why he is obsessed with the notion of the Other and notions of responsibility to the Other.
The reader moves in psychic waves between a “no” and a “yes,” a taking in and a spitting out, an incorporation or a refusal. Maybe the issue is not even what the text does to the reader or what the reader does to the text but that “something” inbetween reader and text happens during the process of sense making. What this “something” of sense making is, is not clear. When the purpose of reading is self-formation or the discovery of difference, the process is intimate and profoundly phenomenological.
Again, this is not a comprehensive portrait, but rather a sort of montage. Let us start our examination of this problem with Jewish school children who did not grow up to be famous writers, like one Ludwik Stockel, a Jewish Polish boy born in 1914. ” Not only that, his life at university was just as bad, if not worse because of the growing anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe before the Holocaust. Stockel (2002) reports that during his youth, [W]e avoided Catholics. Though the two groups were on speaking terms with each other and kept up appearances, the atmosphere [in school] was tense.