By bridging Jewish and Arab cultures, a pair of Oberlin historians hope to shape history





As the new course in American democracy ended to applause last week, professors Carol Lasser and Gary Kornblith walked their matching bikes across the Oberlin College campus -- nearly walking on air.

After more than 30 years teaching history, the husband-wife team had tried to make some. They brought two of the world's most divided peoples -- Israelis and Palestinians -- to Oberlin's serene campus to discuss how multicultural America works.

No one is predicting peace in the Holy Land. But after two weeks of dorm life, bowling, communal dinners and intellectual debate, the Arabic and Hebrew-speaking students exchanged hugs and e-mail addresses.

Lasser and Kornblith, who hope to repeat the encounter, dare to dream they added another chapter to Oberlin's history-making legacy.

"There's been conversation between some very smart and very influential people, and a willingness to take intellectual risk," said Lasser, a petite, 58-year-old dynamo of a scholar. "What else can you ask for?"...

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