Sharing Stories Inspiring Change

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Alex Stern

You grew up in this town, and at this temple. Your family was never very religious, but you learned many Jewish values at home by watching your parents support the Jewish community and help those less fortunate than you, both African American and white. As a teenager, you helped out in your father's dry goods store, sometimes working at the register and sometimes helping out behind the lunch counter. When your father could no longer run the business, he sold it to you and your spouse. You've continued the store's tradition of serving both white and African American members of the community, many of whom also knew your father. Continuing the family business is a matter of pride, as well as your own family's means of financial support. You think African Americans should be treated fairly, but recently, you've heard rumors that the African American community is planning to boycott all white businesses downtown. You have heard that this has happened in other communities with devastating results for Jewish businesses. You hope that your store's reputation for being fair to all shoppers will keep it from being boycotted along with the other merchants. You also hope that the store's reputation for serving African Americans won't cause white customers to boycott your store.

Preparation for taking on the role of your character:

  1. What values (be as specific as possible) are important to your character? What in this description made you draw those conclusions?
  2. What are your character's experiences/concerns (be as specific as possible)? What in this description made you draw those conclusions?
  3. Based on these values and experiences/concerns, would your character support a) home hospitality for civil rights activists and/or b) members supporting the protest?
  4. Return to the documents you read earlier and identify the most relevant documents and arguments based on what you know about your fictional character.
  5. Using both what you know about your fictional character and the arguments from the documents you read earlier develop your argument for the board meeting. You may use the space below to outline your argument.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Alex Stern." (Viewed on April 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/node/11748>.