I noted the death of former Massachusetts Congressman and Catholic priest, Father Robert Drinan, with great sadness. Father Drinan was as much of a mensch – wonderful human being – as anyone I have ever known.

There is an interesting story about Father Drinan and Lewiston-Auburn’s Jewish community. In either 1972 or 1973, the Palestinian-Liberation Organization representative to the United Nations was invited to speak at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.

The Jewish community in Brunswick contacted the L-A Jewish Comunity Center and Jewish Federation, of which I was executive director. They asked for help protesting his visit. My first inclination was to be boisterously and loud.

Collete Avital, the vice council in Israel’s Consul-General’s office in Boston, counseled against it. She reasoned it would attract more people. She developed a classic plan.

Some from L-A did attend. Avital came and brought Father Drinan, then serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. About 400 people attended, mostly students. As people exited, we invited everyone for free coffee and doughnuts at the nearby cafeteria. About 250 people joined us.

Avital replayed a tape of the speech, stopping it to allow Father Drinan to respond, which he did eloquently and effectively. It was quite a night.

We left pleased with how we responded – thanks to Avital and Father Drinan. I only wish I had thought to have the speech and Father Drinan’s response transcribed. His involvement is unforgettable.

He will be missed.

Paul Jeser, Los Angeles, Calif.


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