An open letter to Mr. Mitchell E. Daniels, president of Purdue University

I bring my whole Jewish self to work at Purdue University. During the weekend of Sept. 16, a giant swastika was constructed in a classroom across from my office on campus.Given my Jewish appearance, the mezuzah on the doorpost of my office, and the small menorah I have on the window sill facing the street — the location chosen for the swastika was not a coincidence. It was not a prank. It was directed at me personally (yet not solely at me). I saw it, and it petrified me. Despite of what others may try to convince themselves, the semiotics of the swastika are clear: it is always a death threat. For a few days, I contemplated modifying how I dress to protect myself from people who want me to die. I decided against it because I am proud to be a Jew.Mr. Daniels, I insist that you start condemning every single anti-Semitic incident at Purdue University. While you’re at it, you can condemn all public death threats and displays of bigotry. Your office and the office of the Dean of Students remain silent still about the swastika and fliers. The repeated referrals to your welcome-back message of Aug. 21 are getting threadbare. I demand an immediate end to your complicit silence. As ACT UP put it so plainly and often during the years of the AIDS pandemic:SILENCE = DEATHI shall never closet my Jewishness. I shall never stop wearing a kippah and tzitzit. I shall never give up my religion, culture, values, and identity merely because anonymous neo-Nazi cowards, upheld by the dismissive university officials who cosset them, have misused their “freedom of speech” to express that I do not have the freedom to be alive.Respectfully,Yitzhak David ben-Avraham Moore