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Remarks by Theodore K. Rabb, Professor of History, Princeton University Chair, American Academic Committee for the Rothberg School
Deliivered to the British Friends of the Hebrew University at their commemorative meeting on
August 6th.

Since I am visiting London from America, and have been unable to attend the memorials arranged by the American Friends, I am glad to have the chance to join the British Friends of the Hebrew University to honor the memory of those who were killed last week.
These days will always be, for me, a time of Kaddish, our memorial prayer for the dead. Just last week my wife and I were with a group on the island of Rhodes who spontaneously gathered a minyan for a service, in the sixteenth-century synagogue, to say Kaddish for a community of 1,600 that was murdered by the Nazis. And then, just two days later, came the report of a new murder, yet another assault on our people.
As chair of the American Academic Committee for the Rothberg School, I pay a special tribute first to the students who died, and whose enthusiasm for study in Jerusalem we were so happy to support. I honor, too, the dead and wounded from that cafeteria, now eternally linked to the many other innocent Israelis who have been slaughtered in recent months. That their sufferings come home to me particularly vividly is not just because of their association with a university I myself attended, and which my family has served for decades, but because of my close association with one of the victims, the subject of my second tribute, Janis Coulter, who did so much to ease those students' paths. I worked with her in New York for a number of years, and know all too well how grievously she will be missed.
Janis was someone who lit up a room. Never half-hearted, but always bubbling with enthusiasm -- above all in her commitment to our university -- she brought an energy and a sparkle to everything she did. Though she was tireless and utterly devoted, her discipline and purpose were always softened by an incisive yet gentle wit. Janis brought together that rare combination: keen intelligence and a warm heart. One of the students whom she took to Israel last week told us how she had helped him through the recent loss of his mother; others outdid each other in recalling her many kindnesses; and all who knew her will know what it is to mourn.
Which brings me back to the Kaddish. One of the most astonishing things about Janis was that she was a convert to Judaism. She knew what it could mean when she said that a year as a student at the Rothberg School would change one's life. She returned to America and gave her talents, and ultimately her life, to the university she loved. But, for all her family's pride in her achievements and her sacrifice, they could hold no Shiva, and none could say Kaddish for her. The one memorial to this remarkable woman that I think she would have accepted -- other than a scholarship in her name that we are hoping to create -- is, I believe, the Kaddish, and I have been reciting it in her memory in recent days. I invite you all to do the same, notably at the Yizkor Services we will be reciting next month. And may that help us come to terms with this dreadful tragedy, which has taken from us an embodiment of that classic Jewish ideal, an Eshet Chayil, A Woman of Valor.

Theodore K. Rabb
Professor of History, Princeton University
Chair, American Academic Committee for the Rothberg School

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