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Thomas Friedman returns to Park

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Journalist+Susan+Linnee+interviews+Park+alumnus+and+distinguished+journalist+Thomas+Friedman+at+the+Sabes+Jewish+Community+Center+April+30.+Fundraising+from+the+event+goes+to+support+the+St.+Louis+Park+Historical+Society%27s+fund+for+construction+of+a+history+center.+
Journalist Susan Linnee interviews Park alumnus and distinguished journalist Thomas Friedman at the Sabes Jewish Community Center April 30. Fundraising from the event goes to support the St. Louis Park Historical Society's fund for construction of a history center.

Journalist Susan Linnee interviews Park alumnus and distinguished journalist Thomas Friedman at the Sabes Jewish Community Center April 30. Fundraising from the event goes to support the St. Louis Park Historical Society's fund for construction of a history center.

Mimi Fhima

Journalist Susan Linnee interviews Park alumnus and distinguished journalist Thomas Friedman at the Sabes Jewish Community Center April 30. Fundraising from the event goes to support the St. Louis Park Historical Society's fund for construction of a history center.

Acclaimed columnist speaks at community event in support of Historical Society

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When reflecting on visits to his hometown, distinguished Park alumnus and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said the trips aided him in writing his latest book “Thank You For Being Late.”

“I really, emotionally, just wanted to come home because all of the other things I’ve been working on kind of blew up,” Friedman said.

Friedman returned to St. Louis Park to speak at a charity event at the Sabes Jewish Community Center April 30 supporting the construction of a permanent St. Louis Park historical society.

Friedman said traveling from Park to Beirut, Lebanon influenced his worldview and allowed him to experience a distinct community.

“I grew up in a real community and then I went to the Middle East and saw community break down. I saw people send their kids only to their own religious schools, their own factional schools,” Friedman said. “When you grow up in a place that’s not perfect, but where it kind of works, it makes you realize what is possible and it makes you appreciate when you’re in places that don’t work.”

According to Friedman, he noticed St. Louis Park became more diverse both racially and religiously.

“(Park has) obviously become a much more diverse community. Back in my day, diversity was all Judeo-Christians, so it was basically just religious diversity. Now it’s much more diverse racially and even more diverse religiously — so it’s a much more pluralist society,” Friedman said.

Friedman said Park’s ability to respond to divisive communal issues has distinguished it, especially recently, from other communities.

“In any big community, even a big small community, you’re going to get misbehavior at the edges. The question is not ever ‘we have none of that and you do’ — the question is ‘how do you respond as a community when it happens,’” Friedman said. “We don’t respond with civil war, we respond by people coming out and calling it out and coming together.”

Friedman’s most recent work, “Thank You For Being Late,” one of Publisher’s Weekly’s most anticipated books of Fall 2016 highlights the Park community and is sold in stores and online. The two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner continues his New York Times column on foreign affairs and globalization.

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The student news site of St. Louis Park High School
Thomas Friedman returns to Park