This I Believe

Fisher, Annie


  • Annie Fisher talks about her experiences growing up in a Jewish family and her belief in equality and the importance of goodness regardless of ones faith.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Annie Fisher was the first principal of Barnard Junior High School in Hartford, Connecticut. A graduate of Wesleyan and New York Universities, she taught English, supervised special departments, and was a superintendant of schools. Since her retirement in 1945, she has been active in community service, receiving the B’nai B’rith Citizenship Award in 1952. Here are the beliefs of Miss Annie Fisher.
On the door of our home was placed the mezuzah, a little tube case containing a parchment with these words: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” It was a sign that a Jew lived here and was a constant reminder of God’s presence: my parents at prayer very early in the morning and again in the evening; the family gathering at mealtime waiting for Father’s blessing; the thankfulness to God for everything that He provided for us; the sacredness of family life; the devotion of our parents to their children, and their children to them; the hunger for education; the need to express oneself in service for others;
the readiness to share with those who had less than we had; the peaceful restfulness of the Sabbath day; the festive atmosphere of holidays. All these were part of our daily living.
Material riches were few. My parents had escaped from Czarist Russia, and most of their belongings were left behind, but their spiritual heritage they had brought with them. It was that spiritual heritage that made our home beautiful.
It came as a terrific emotional shock to me when the neighboring boys of another religion attacked my father with snowballs and stones because he had a long beard, and because he was a Jew.
The terror of that day left a permanent scar. It took a long time and many experiences to learn that not only adolescents but mature men and women feared differences and, hence, practiced unkind acts to cover their fears. We had been taught that “Honor thy parents” was a loving obligation and included honoring all older people everywhere.
My early environment has left a permanent impression upon me. Our home is our sanctuary. We love being together and serving each other. What hurts one of us, hurts all of us. What brings happiness to one is shared by all. And that feeling goes from my family, to my neighbors, to my country, to human beings everywhere. “Love thy neighbor” is a holy duty.
I think of our world as having one God and one people.
One of the things my parents taught me was to look to myself before complaining about how others treat me. What have I done wrong to lead them to behave that way? I find myself asking that same question when I am hurt today, or when my people are hurt, or when my country is hurt.
I worship in a Synagogue with others who share my faith. But I believe that there is place in God’s heaven for the righteous of all nations. The Lord loves a good person no matter what his creed, race, or color. There are many roads to God’s heaven.
I respect what is holy to other people, and I want others to respect what is holy to me.
I do not know what comes after death. I hope that the spirit lives on. But I think that it is most important so to live that the world will be a little better because I have lived in it. To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God is my constant prayer. My religion is my way of life, here and now. I do not worry too much about the hereafter.
That was the personal philosophy of Annie Fisher of West Hartford, Connecticut.