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Jewish studies

I was delighted to read about the growth of the Jewish studies program at DU [“Rediscovering Yiddish,” summer 2006]. I noted the illustration about the Palm Theatre on West Colfax Avenue and remembered the running gag about the bridge from downtown Denver to the West Side being the longest bridge in the world — from Denver to Jerusalem. I also remember DU as a very comfortable academic experience for a young, Jewish, returning G.I. in the late ’40s. All except for the English professor who insisted on calling me Mr. Molotov (the U.S.S.R. prime minister) after I read from the play Waiting for Lefty by Clifford Odets. Oh well, perfection is for the angels.

Mel Mogulof (BS ’49)
Berkeley, Calif.

As a proud alumnus, I was particularly pleased to read that DU is joining a growing number of American universities in offering a course in Yiddish instruction at the Center for Judaic Studies. Beyond “Borscht Belt” humor, Yiddish is of course a rich cultural repository of literature, theater, cinema and song. Here in Santa Monica, the S.M. College Emeritus program for seniors offers classes in which some three dozen devotees gather weekly to read original works by such revered authors as Sholem Aleichem, Mendele Mocher Seforim, IL Peretz and Isaac Bashevis Singer. I want to congratulate reporter Dave Brendsel on an excellent article. I agree with his comment that Yiddish offers a wealth of character descriptions. However, it’s also a minefield of double entendres and grammatical peculiarities. There are, for example, several Yiddish words for “fool” — nahr being the most familiar. His choice of the word putz, I would suggest, is best reserved for describing the male sexual organ (or perhaps for any epithet that part of the anatomy may kindle).

Manuel Chait (BA ’57, MA ’59)
Santa Monica, Calif.

Building namesakes

The piece on Johnson-McFarlane Hall [“Namesakes,” summer 2006] stirred memories. Mrs. McFarlane was a much-admired teacher and friend to Fran Kido (BA ’31, MA ’32), who later became my wife. Fran came to DU from a farming community in the Arkansas River Valley speaking Japanese, English and Spanish, and Mrs. McFarlane made it her mission to polish not only Fran’s English, but her social graces as well. Fran was often at the McFarlane home reading to her mentor, who was resting on a settee. Fred and Ida Kruse McFarlane were major figures in the restoration of their hometown, Central City.

Edward Rasmussen (attd. 1942-43)
Owings Mills, Md.

The “Namesakes” article was fantastic! I attended the University in the 1930s. I can’t remember the chancellor’s name at that time, but I do remember Professor Recht, director of the Chamberlin Observatory. Recht had a great sense of humor and gave bonuses for any pun students could put in the answers to exam questions. Another building I remember was the observatory established on the summit of Mount Evans by professor Cohen to study cosmic rays. You may have plans to publicize this if you haven’t done so already.

William Reynard (attd. 1936-38)
Wheat Ridge, Colo.


The editor responds: According to Womble Professor of Astronomy Robert Stencel, DU constructed an A-frame building at the summit of Mount Evans in 1935 to support expanding cosmic ray research. In 1972, DU’s first summit telescope replaced the structure, and in 1996, the Meyer-Womble observatory opened at the location.

Equestrian team

Reading the summer 2006 magazine, I was pleasantly surprised to come across the article about the DU equestrian team [“Giddyup“]. I was one of several women who founded the original team in 1994. All of the team members juggled school, practice and horse shows with ease for the opportunity to ride. We came from different backgrounds, but horseback riding was an outlet for all of us. In the process we gained great stories and friendships. College is primarily for education, but when you have an outlet for your passion, it makes the time and memories so much more fulfilling. In July, my fellow teammates Whitney Deason (BSBA ’97) and Heather Collins (BA ’96) attended the wedding of Marisa Newkirk (attd. 1995-96). Our lives are changing, but we still have great stories and experiences that will connect us for years to come. Congratulations to the team’s new coach and our fellow competitor Molly Rinedollar (CSU) and all the team members. Good luck!

Moira Montrose Compton (BSBA ’95)
Durango, Colo.

Down syndrome research

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the [winter 2005] article on the research being done on Down syndrome. Several years ago, I had the pleasure of working with developmentally disabled adults, some of whom had Down syndrome. These children and adults are delightful and special people, and it is wonderful to see that they are being seen as people with potential who can perhaps be helped to have richer, fuller lives. I was encouraged in light of so many other articles I have read where parents who are expecting a child find out that the baby has Down and the doctors often suggest they have the child aborted. This was a positive article, and I was glad to see that there are researchers out there who do care about these special ones. I almost always find one or more articles in the University of Denver Magazine that touches me in some way, but this time I just had to respond. Keep up the good work.

Dianna (Waterworth) Morrow (MA ’80)
Lander, Wyo.


In the summer 2006 article about building namesakes, we stated that the College of Education occupies the Ammi Hyde Building but failed to mention that the Graduate School of Professional Psychology is housed in the building as well. We regret the omission.

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