This interview for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society is being recorded on June 13, 2008 at part of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society Oral History Project. The interview is being recorded at the Columbus Jewish Federation Building. My name is Helena Schlam and I am interviewing Dr. Donald Sylvan.
Interviewer: Don, before you became the head of JESNA and moved to New York how long had you lived in Columbus?
Sylvan: I lived in Columbus from 1974 through 2005, so 31 years.
Interviewer: And from where did you come before Columbus?
Sylvan: I grew up in Chicago, as did my wife Anne. We also lived in Minneapolis and Boston before moving to Columbus.
Interviewer: Well a question I have further on but I will insert here is about your marriage to Anne, since you mentioned this and I, tell us about that and what kind of a Jewish wedding it was.
Sylvan: Okay I’ll tell you what kind of a Jewish wedding but I think since this is the Columbus Jewish Historical Society, how Anne and I met would actually be a relevant point as well. We were both exceptionally active in our high school days in the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization. I was a southsider, Anne was a northsider and I was President of Chicago Region AZA, which I proudly tell you was the largest in the world at that time. Anne and I met at Schwartz’ Resort in Lake Elkhart, Wisconsin at a BBYO Convention. That’s how we met. And I guess the rest is history. We were juniors in high school and we’re still married today. As for our wedding, the quick version is that we had what I think of as a typical Chicago Jewish wedding, with my Rabbi, Rabbi Oppenheimer (Rabbi Karff – with whom I was close, and who had encouraged me to become a Rabbi – was on vacation) officiating. The humorous part of the wedding is that years later when Anne was applying for a teaching certificate, she found out when she went to register that the rabbi had forgotten to sign the marriage document, so we had to go back to Chicago to get the Rabbi’s signature.
Interviewer: Very nice. So what brought you and Anne to Columbus?
Sylvan: The Ohio State University brought us into Columbus. I was a faculty member in the Political Science Department from 1974 to 1995. I am now an Emeritus Professor at Ohio State University, and my 31st PhD advisee successfully defended his dissertation a couple of weeks ago, and received his degree two days ago.
Interviewer: You’re still working with students at Ohio State?
Sylvan: It is likely that this has been my final student here at OSU.
Interviewer: Well tell us about your family and the Jewish experience while growing up in Chicago. You’ve already given us some good background but let’s hear even the younger years.
Sylvan: When I was little, denominations of Judaism were part of the conversation in our household because all three major denominations of Judaism were very much represented. Our family was very close-knit and all lived within a few blocks on the south side of Chicago. Our family owned the building, and my grandparents lived in the first floor apartment, with my parents and I living on the second floor. And the members of our immediate family were the only ones who went to a Reform congregation. The vast majority of our extended family went to a Conservative shul that was close by and my grandparents went to the Orthodox shul not far away either. The fact that I’m a Levy meant that I was particularly susceptible to minyan calls at the Orthodox shul. So in some sense it serves me well in my present occupation I am in now. I never reified greatly the distinctions within Judaism, thinking of myself as a Jew, with no preceding adjective. I have strong views on certain kinds of subjects in Judaism but they don’t necessarily correlate perfectly with denominations. So, that’s a little bit of the background.
Interviewer: And what about your grandparents? Were they born in the United States or from where did they come?
Sylvan: I’ll go a step further. My parents were not born in the United States. My mother was born in a shtetl called Motele (or Motol), which went back and forth between Russia and Poland when she was born in it in the first few years of the Twentieth Century. Today, the small town – cleansed of Jews by the holocaust – is part of Belarus. My mother came to the United States at the age of 18 months, to Chicago. She passed away seven or eight years ago now, in her mid-90s. My father was born in Romania in Iasi, then Romania’s second largest city. He was around a decade older than my mother, and a bit older than her when he emigrated with his family to the United States. I am one of three siblings. My two brothers are respectively a bit over 13 years older than me, and a bit over 22 years older than me.
Interviewer: Tell us a bit about your two brothers. Where do they live?
Sylvan: Okay. My older brother, Irwin, lives in Chicago, actually in Glencoe to be exact. He is CEO of his corporation, has been for many years. Mobile Mark is its name. He’s been very, very successful in business, and is still active at his age (do the math: I’m 59; he just had his 82nd birthday). Unfortunately in the last year, he’s come down with Parkinson’s and that’s slowing him down a fair amount.
Interviewer: Was he also active in the Jewish community?
Sylvan: Yes he was active to a degree in the Jewish community. He was on the Board of North Shore Congregation Israel which is a very large Reform congregation in the suburbs of Chicago. I’d say Judaism was one part of his identity, a very core part of his identity but it wasn’t necessarily the strongest part of his identity. My other brother Marshall lives in Santa Cruz, California. He took the family occupation of being a professor. I should say also my older brother has three children, all boys. Two of them have their Ph.D.s and are professors so it’s the family business I guess in some way. My brother Marshall has been quite active in the Jewish world. He helped form in some ways and was President of the largest (and for a while the only) congregation in Santa Cruz, California. While he was President they built a large, beautiful building there. When my brother Marshall married his wife, Karen, she was not Jewish. A few in our family ostracized him for marrying her. Ironically, Karen has now not only converted to Judaism, not only had a Bat Mitzvah, but helped start a Conservative shul, feeling more comfortable there than the Reform congregation of which my brother had been president. She has also spent much of her adult career as a Jewish educator.
Interviewer: That is a wonderful Jewish story. And I want to move on to your experience with Beth Tikvah and particularly your terms, you did two terms, more than that, as President because that is the great interest right now.
Sylvan: I’m very proud and I’m still to this day a member of Beth Tikvah even though I am also a member of the New Shul in Greenwich Village in New York, where (as you know) Melanie, our daughter, is the Cantorial Soloist and Bar and Bat Mitzvah tutor. I loved and still love Beth Tikvah community. Some of the closest friends we have in the world are members of Beth Tikvah and after all, in some sense, that’s what a community is. Anne and I joined Beth Tikvah just as it was just about to move from an the old church on Indianola to the building on Olentangy River Road in Worthington. So I’m of the generation that was sort of helping move it in that direction. While you are correct that I was president of Beth Tikvah for (the maximum) two terms, I didn’t initially envision myself taking leadership in a congregation. In fact, Anne tells a story that I guess I’ll tell in her behalf.
Shortly after we joined the Congregation (The kids were quite young at that point), we received a telephone call asking one of us to be on, either the finance or fund-raising committee. Anne said (without consulting me), “Don would be willing to do it.” We had a disagreement about her response. I told her, “Don’t volunteer me to do those kinds of things. That’s not what I want to do.” In effect what I was saying is I want to be involved but I don’t want to be involved in that particular committee. And within the next couple of months I was on the Ritual Committee and I chaired the Ritual Committee and soon thereafter I was Vice-President of Beth Tikvah and then was elected President for a couple of terms. I would like to think that it was at the stage of both introspection and also some very, very substantial growth. I was fortunate enough to be president at a time when Beth Tikvah grew by approximately10 to 15%.
While I was President, we also made the decision to build the addition, and expand the Beth Tikvah building. It was very, very contentious. It was a harbinger of things to come because it was voted down the first time by one vote or two votes in a congregational meeting. But then we came back and it was overwhelmingly passed a year or so later. But if I reflect that for a few moments…the time that I was President of Beth Tikvah, we had an ideal. We had a lot of idealistic folks in Beth Tikvah at that point. I hope there still are. I don’t know the membership as well now. But there were a couple of distinguishing characteristics of Beth Tikvah membership in sharp contract to those in the rest of the Columbus Jewish community, in which I eventually got so involved. One was, unlike most of the rest of the Columbus Jewish community where congregational members were typically from Columbus, virtually no one (with the exception of the Folkerths) at Beth Tikvah was from Columbus. Like us, most people grew up in Chicago or from New York or from L.A. or from Cleveland. We had naturally gravitated to an area near where our occupation was. A tremendous number of people who were professors at Ohio State. I think during my two terms as President, if I remember correctly, there were six department chairs on our board at that time. So if you think governance is difficult in the Jewish community in general, it’s more difficult in that context I would assert.
Interviewer: Do you recall the years…
Sylvan: I could probably reconstruct them in fact, rather than taking the time right now, after this interview I’ll work to try to, I know I’ll be able to figure it out but I don’t want to take the time right now to do that. But see, I think as I reflect on those years, both the years I was President and just before and just after, when I was there after my leadership, it was a time of dialogue between the ideals of Beth Tikvah and the pragmatics of a largely-growing congregation. Beth Tikvah was so proud, I was so proud of it, that congregation, that we believed to be virtually the only congregation in America that did not plague (i.e., acknowledge monetary contributions with plaques naming of sections of the building). It sought very hard to be an egalitarian atmosphere. With the decision to expand came some tough choices. I had been firmly on the side of not plaquing, and yet when I became President of the Congregation, I realized just how difficult it was to raise money for a tremendously important cause.
Human nature seemed to dictate some kind of recognition for substantial financial contribution. And without going through all the machinations of that, it was as much contention within people as it was between people. I don’t want to make it sound like there was one group of people completely on one side and one group on another side. It was a lot of reflective people who were torn who said, “Wow, I see the arguments both ways at this point. What should we do? If we really want to serve our kids, have a Jewish educational environmental that’s important, have a community here, do all the things that we know we can do very well, and our ideal is to say that we should have people giving money without any recognition, but unfortunately we’re coming against reality where that’s not always the case. How do we deal with this?” So that was one of the issues. What should the form of the Congregation be? How much change professionalize. We were very proud of the fact at that time that we were very much a volunteer-run Congregation. Well when we started to get up to the 400-member plateau, the 415 member plateau which I remember they were getting to towards the end of my term, that’s a very large number to be led almost entirely by volunteers and it was a very difficult decision.
You know personally quite well, Helena, that one of the other things that I was very active in began toward the end of my time as President. There were many other people involved, but Bernie Yenkin, Ray Wells and I spent a lot of time together helping form this organization called Kol Ami. As you well know, you played a role, there were other people involved in this. Bernie and Ray and I worked together to form Kol Ami, and served as its first three presidents. Unfortunately Ray has passed away. We represented three congregations with very different back- grounds, very different philosophies and Beth Tikvah, Agudas Achim and Temple Israel, but we felt community and cross-congregational activity was very important. I felt that with Beth Tikvah as well. And those were some of the major thrusts.
Interviewer: Definitely and very, very interesting. When you say that you were able to after a year, bring the Congregation to agree to the expansion…
Sylvan: There were a lot of very good people working very hard.
Interviewer: Okay. Well actually my question is how did that happen? What, can you describe the process?
Sylvan: It’s a process that is sort of a hallmark of how I work: We listened. We said, “Okay”. Maybe we’d been too sharp if we thought this was a slam dunk. We thought it was going to be very easy. We thought this was an obvious choice for Beth Tikvah to expand. But there were good people who were disagreeing with us. So let’s enter a dialogue. Let’s not have recriminations. Let’s not call each other names. Let’s sit down and talk. What bothers you about this process? What is wrong with it? Why shouldn’t we expand? Let’s listen to your reasons. And we tried to accommodate the reasons of those who were on the other side in this one. And it worked. We had to change the proposal a little bit to accommodate what some people thought and cared about and it was a pretty easy vote the next time. It wasn’t that close.
Interviewer: But the decision to expand was not…to plaquing or was it?
Sylvan: It wasn’t directly related to plaquing but the debate about plaquing began in earnest. We decided we were going to try as hard as we could not to plaque and do this expansion. And we actually did it. But we had planted the seed, which I wanted to do. I don’t want to claim astounding foresight on this one but what we said in some documents that we put together is we understood there might well come a time when that principle would be seen as consistent with our overall values. And lo and behold when Beth Tikvah started many years later after I was the Past President for a long time, to think about moving its location I was brought back in with two or three other Past Presidents of Beth Tikvah. I know Evie Freeman was one of them, Carol Folkerth was one of them, I can’t remember who else.
There were three of us that were asked by the then the President of Beth Tikvah, to form some kind of blue-ribbon commission to deal with this issue of plaquing, come up with a recommendation of what we thought should be done. We actually worked very hard and came up with a recommendation what we thought was fair and respectful to varying deeply held positions. We didn’t want the proverbial “every door knob and every door acknowledged,” but we thought it was very reasonable for people that were putting their hard-earned money into this building would actually be recognized in one central location That was a compromise. As I understand it, that is the plan if and when Beth Tikvah does move to a new building.
Interviewer: Yeah. Let us continue now that we’ve had a break and we do appreciate your talking even with this state of your voice. Tell us please about your involvement with the Columbus Jewish community other than Beth Tikvah such as the Columbus Jewish Federation and OSU Hillel.
Sylvan: Sure I’ll be happy to do that. Let’s start with the Federation, because we’re sitting in the Federation Building right now. As I told you before, I come from Chicago. What I didn’t talk about is my youth, that I was active internationally in B’nai B’rith Youth Organization as well. I was actually slated to be International Vice-President and then President but when I found out that I would have had to give up the Chicago Region presidency, I didn’t do it. That’s another long story from long ago but the reason I bring it up is simply to point out that I’ve always been a community-oriented person. I’m really not a single-institution-oriented person. I care about the Jewish people. And therefore in a sense the isolation of Beth Tikvah from the rest of the Jewish community struck me as very odd. I know some people say it’s a different side of town. Well I grew up in Chicago, where 20 minutes away is not a different side of town. That’s really close. And I think the two tales come together in terms of my activity.
It primarily began when I was President of Beth Tikvah and it was a time when the Jewish Center (the JCC) was considering having some kind of presence on the north side. And I remember that the Chair of the Board of the JCC was David Milenthal and the President or CEO of the JCC was Allan Finkelstein. We met a great deal and talked about how we could cooperate to grow the Jewish community in general. You get a picture of my attitude towards how important I thought it was to build the Jewish community by the following conversation:
We first worked together cooperatively to create a north(west) side temporary Jewish Center, which was primarily a pre-school, pre-school. Shortly after our joint success in creating that program, I got a call from JCC folks who said, “Well we have an odd situation Don. A group has asked us to have services in the new North side JCC that you worked so hard to help create. If we say “yes,” we’d feel as though we were stabbing you – as president of Beth Tikvah – in the back. I mean, you’ve put all this sweat in, you’ve helped create the center and then we come to you and the first thing we do if we have a competitor take hold in the place that you helped create.” And I think I surprised him. I said, “That’s wonderful”. I said, “I love Beth Tikvah. I’m proud to be President of Beth Tikvah. I think it’s a great institution. But more importantly, I’m a Jew, and if this step gets more Jews active in the Jewish community, that’s better for the Jews, it’s not worse. I’m not parochial. Let more and more people be involved in Jewish activities.” That’s always been my attitude.
Through my involvement in the Columbus Jewish Federation, I’ve met a lot of wonderful, wonderful people in the Federation who I call friends. My leadership activity in the Federation was first nurtured by Miriam Yenkin. I love Miriam and Bernie tremendously. They’re just great, great people and Miriam when she was First Vice-President and President of the Federation or Chair of the Board, whatever the term is, would not take no for an answer from me. She really wanted me to get involved and she helped include me into the fold so to speak. She understood my sensitivity to not being included in the Federation leadership as a token northsider.
You see we’ve had other people who’ve been token northsiders before. I said, “If you really want me to be involved, that’s not what you’re going to get.” I care deeply about a whole range of issues. Do I know the north side better, do I care about it a great deal? Absolutely. But I asked Miriam please no to make mine a slot for the north side. Only ask me to be involved if you see me as a leader of the larger Columbus Jewish community. Don’t put me there because I’m President of Beth Tikvah and I made that very, very clear.
The other professional who really did the recruiting job was Meryl Weissmann, who was then Director of Planning for the Federation. Now of course it’s funny that two of the people I jut mentioned are part of my life today: Meryl Weissmann and Allan Finkelstein. Meryl is in an executive position for the Jewish Agency for Israel. Whenever I am in Israel for my job as CEO of JESNA, we try to get together. I work even closer with Al Finkelstein, who is now President of the JCC Association. As you probably know, JCCA and JESNA are two of the eight national agencies (two of the three largest, actually, with Hillel being the other – we’re third largest) supported by the Federation movement. The first meeting I ever went to of the set of leaders of this group of national agencies, I remember as I was being introduced, Allan Finkelstein, head of the JCC Association, interjected himself into the conversation, saying “I simply want to say that most of you don’t yet know Don, but I do know him. We worked together in Columbus and I know you’ll soon find that he’s a wonderful addition to our group.” That was wonderful of Allan. We are good friends, both professionally and socially.
My relationship with former Columbus professional and current CAJE CEO Jeff Lasday is yet another Columbus link. The most important point is that I would clearly never, ever have made this leap to the professional job that I’m in right now if it had not been for my activity in the Federation, as a lay leader in the Federation. There’s just no question about it. I enjoyed it. I have a lot of wonderful friends here in Columbus. I think we did some innovative things in the Federation. We did some things that we probably should have done a different way. And 20-20 hindsight is always perfect in those situations. But I spent just about a decade as Allocations Chair for the Federation – as Vice-President (changed to “Vice Chair” of the Federation while I was in the position) in Charge of Allocations and Strategic Planning. We revamped the way in which allocations were done. I’m proud of that. And I’m proud of the friends that I made and the sense that we made of trying to do good for the Jews in Columbus.
Here’s a cute story that is part of the transition into where I am now. David Edell was engaged by the Federation on a couple of occasions to assist us in professional searches. I got a call from David, probably a decade ago. David said, “Don, I have a position as a CEO for one of the national organizations and two different people who don’t know each other from different parts of the country have put your name in the hopper as a possibility to lead this organization. Would you be at all interested?” And I said, I talked to Anne about it and I said, “I’m flattered David but,” I said, “I’m very happy as a Professor and I have no intention of changing occupations. I’m proud that you think of me in that way.” Well he must have planted a seed because around a decade later, I eventually did make the jump. Columbus was also the basis for me being on a lot of national boards in the Jewish world and the one of course that I’m proudest of in retrospect is JESNA because I had the leadership of the Columbus Jewish Federation including Bernie Yenkin and Meyer Mellman who were the two retiring JESNA board members at that time, twisted my arm and I probably have scars from it, to convince me to be on the JESNA board. Well I think they probably did a good job, making this match.
You asked about Hillel. I spent most of my adult life as a Professor at Ohio State, a very proudly Jewish professor at Ohio State. Well it shouldn’t surprise anybody that a person who was as active in the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization as I was, a person who was active in the congregation as I was would want to support the Hillel Foundation in every way that I possibly could. I don’t think there’s need to go into dramatic detail of this one but I think pretty much from my first few years there, I was volunteering my time for a very, very long time on the Hillel Board. I was asked on a couple of occasions to be the formal advisor to Hillel but wanted my friend Herb Asher to continue in that role. So I didn’t want to trade with Herb but I was very, very happy to try to help innovate. I think in some sense the, I may have played a couple roles in Hillel, I reflect back on it, that I think were positive roles. One of them was a role model for a Jewish faculty member in some sense because as you well know it’s not always a case that Jewish faculty members want to be proudly Jewish and active in Hillel and I was one such faculty member.
Secondly my area of study, as you well know, is Middle East politics and therefore I must have given so many dozens and dozens of seminars to Hillel, trying to educate students in get them to understand Israel education in an important way. And I’ve taken that with me now. I believe to my core that propagandistic Israel education is problematic, that solidly-based historical Jewish education is what we need and it will produce proud Zionists like me. I am unabashedly a proud Zionist and I know that Israel has lots of warts and those are not inconsistent with each other for one moment. And I think it’s well-meaning American Jews who don’t understand that those aren’t inconsistent who maybe out of all the best motives push us in problematic directions. What I really believe is a particular variety of Israel education that will produce thinking, caring Zionist American Jews. And I hopefully did what I could in that direction at the time that I was volunteering at Hillel and on the board and giving lots of talks and doing a variety of things around campus.
Interviewer: Well this is a good segue to my question about your experience as a Professor of Political Science at Ohio State. How did being Jewish come to play, or did it, in your career as a professor?
Sylvan: I think it’s a great question Helena and there’s no easy answer to it. For most of the time I was at Ohio State, the first half of the time, I was proudly Jewish and proudly a Political Science Professor and ne’er the twain shall meet. And I had successive directors of the Melton Center by the way try for many years to convince me to be a part of the Melton Center Board. I would say, “No, that’s ridiculous. I’m a Jewish Professor not a Professor of Jewish Studies and there’s a big difference between those things, so I shouldn’t be involved in this one.” And it turns out that my greater area of interest most of my career was the political psychology of foreign policy decision making.
And after about a dozen years I studied using a great deal of material about the Middle East peace process, in particular Israelis and Palestinians, and publishing and doing work on that area. At which point I was approached by some folks from the Melton Center – primarily Tamar Rudavsky -who said, “Okay,” Here are articles that you published. You keep saying that you’re not a Professor of Jewish Studies. This is a published piece by you as a political scientist that deals with Israel. That’s part of the Jewish studies as we understand it.” After that, I spent many years as an active member of the Melton Center Board. I’ve always been a Professor of Political Science viewing the Middle East through Political Science eyes I’m also Jewish. But as I mentioned a while ago, I’ve never found any inconsistency between that and being a proud Jew and a proud Zionist. It’s a very complex relationship. I don’t think we should take the time to go into any great detail of it right now but that’s, I guess, the most succinct answer I can give for my relationship between being a political scientist and being Jewish and being a faculty member at OSU.
Interviewer: I get to take the liberty to ask you what you think about Israel Studies as a possibility for extending understanding about Israel or whether you think that the study of Israel is best accomplished in the existing academic structures.
Sylvan: I don’t see the two of them in any conflict to be honest with you. I think the way academia works, if you get the right person for an Israel Studies Chair, they’ll understand what we just talked about. They will be rooted in an academic discipline, they’ll be looking at the anthropology of Israel or the sociology or the politics or some aspect of the art of Israel, primarily be able to draw bridges to other areas. And if you get a top-notch scholar who does Israel Studies, that’s not an issue because they automatically in their own work build those bridges.
Interviewer: So as we come to the end of my questions I want to ask you, well I missed to tell about your children and their Jewish experience in Columbus, if we have time to do that.
Sylvan: I always love to talk about my kids so I’ll jump into that one right now…
Interviewer: Right. And my last question will be what do you consider your most valuable contribution to the Columbus Jewish community? So you have a choice.
Sylvan: Okay, let me do the kids first and then I’ll try to reflect briefly on the other one. Are we doing okay?
Interviewer: We’re okay.
Sylvan: Okay. With my kids, I have to qvell. That’s what I’m very happy to do as a proud parent of two wonderfully-engaged young Jews. Melanie is older and female. Melanie has two different lives in New York and that’s very interesting. Yesterday they started to come together for one of the first times and I’ll tell you that story very briefly. One of her lives is that she is Cantorial Soloist at the New Shul in the Village, for about two Shabbats a month and also for portions of the High Holyday services. She is also the Bar and Bat Mitzvah tutor, the primary Bar and Bat Mitzvah tutor at the New Shul and this year she and the rabbi together are going to be try to start an adult Bar and B’nai Mitzvah class. So she does all those things there. I guess you’d say she’s Jewishly identified. But then she’s also very proudly the Executive Producer of Electric Pair Productions, a small, inventive theatre company in lower Manhattan.
What’s intriguing is they’re just starting to explore for the first time some Jewish material. And the National Council for Jewish Culture, which I’ve introduced her to some folks and she went to their Annual Dinner last night in New York while I was here and I was talking to her today and she said …some very nice conversations. She’s enthusiastic about taking some of the arts in those directions. So that’s Melanie. I could go into lots of other things. Her upbringing in Columbus is a very important part of her Jewish identity. I would have to be, I’d be less than honest if I did not say her camping experiences which you know very well because she went with Julia, your daughter, but there’s no doubt in my mind that her experiences at Olen Sang-Ruby Union Institute in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin were a formative experience. She was there for years upon years upon years from being a little tyke to being a Senior Counselor and helping form, just for the record with two Minneapolis rabbis, their brand new Jewish arts unit called Tiferet. She was the youth leader and they were the rabbinical professional leaders.
Those Minneapolis rabbis were Misha Zinkow and Elka Abrahamson. And at the point when they were about to move to Columbus and Melanie lived in New York, Melanie called me and said, “Dad, those wonderful rabbis I told you so much who were my close friends from Minneapolis, they’re about to come to Columbus. So I’ve often kidded with Misha and Elka, with whom I’m very close now, that we got introduced by Melanie. Okay, that’s a quick version of Melanie. As you know, I could go on forever…
Sylvan: Please repeat the last question so I get it right.
Interviewer: What do you consider to be your most valuable contribution to the Columbus Jewish community and I think perhaps you’ve already answered it but I am asking it again.
Sylvan: Okay. It strikes me Helena, I mean in a sense that’s for others to say. I’m proudest at some point, and that’s what you’re asking, of the bridges I’ve helped build. It’s who I am. Whether it be building the bridges between those residents of the northwest side and the east side in Columbus, whether it be building bridges between different kinds of students on campus and Hillel between faculty members and others, those are the things that I’m proudest of and I’m also proudest of making lots of Columbus friends that I’ll keep for life.
Interviewer: Thank you. Are there any other things you would like to add to this interview?
Sylvan: Not at this time.
Interviewer: Then on behalf of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society, I want to thank you for contributing to the Oral History Project. This concludes the interviewer.
Sylvan: Thank you.
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