Reflections Before the Break

Dear Emory Community,

Soon, our university will close for the Thanksgiving recess. This time away from the swirl of campus activity is a moment to catch our breath and pause. I hope you take full advantage of this well-deserved break.Still, as we look ahead to this brief respite, I also know that a large number of students, faculty, staff, and alumni will have no such relief from the emotional toll of the tragic war in Israel and Gaza. Many of you have written to me and expressed a range of powerful emotions and thoughts. I have heard your pain and your anguish.As the war moves through its second month, I am mourning the lives lost, both Palestinian and Israeli. I am praying that hostages who are still being held by Hamas will be released and for the Palestinian families who are suffering as the war continues across Gaza. And I am outraged by the rise in Islamophobia and antisemitism that has spread across our nation and around the world.As so many are gripped by grief and suffering, there are those among us who have chosen hatred and division over understanding and compassion. And we have seen instances on our campuses where individuals have been targeted for their identities and backgrounds. This behavior is unacceptable, and it has no place at Emory.The days ahead will not be defined by agreement on the perspectives that divide us, but rather the respect we show to those we disagree with. There are numerous examples of people at Emory who’ve risen to meet this moment with grace, and we now look to them for continued inspiration and leadership. Their countless efforts — from peaceful demonstrations to gatherings that have created space for compassionate conversations — have shown thoughtfulness and empathy, and I hope you will carry these qualities with you into this Thanksgiving break. I also encourage you to take full advantage of the resources we have at Emory to support your well-being during this difficult time.Through every moment of this semester — even on the most challenging days — I am proud of this community. I am grateful to be a part of it. I wish you the best as we continue to pray and hope for peace.


Gregory L. Fenves