A Dear Friend


Thank you very much for Jonathan Mark’s moving article about my very dear friend Matt Fenster (“Days Of Awe,” Sept. 30).
I think he really captured and relayed to the reader the special nature of Matt’s neshama (soul). The article has helped foster continued discussion in the Riverdale community about Matt and helped the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR) community deal with our collective grief.

Moving Article About Days Of Awe


Thank you, Jonathan Mark, for writing the moving article about Matt Fenster and his courageous struggle (“Days Of Awe,” Sept. 30).

I did not know Matt, but learned of his illness last year through a donor drive. I was moved by his circumstances and sent a check. I remember asking myself, why him? Why does one get this adversity? We all get challenges, but they hopefully make us stronger. But his challenge was insurmountable. And it seemed to happen to a nice guy, one of us.

Israel Education Down Under


I have returned from Australia where I facilitated and presented at a national conference of Israel education, organized by the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) in Melbourne. The conference was attended by representatives of almost every Zionist day school from across Australia, and from across the ideological and religious spectrum. Despite the differences of ideology, there was a tremendous amount of mutual respect and cooperation.

On JNF Policies

Vice President, Israel Relations Jewish National Fund

Robert Cherry's statement in his Opinion piece, “Zionist Policies Towards Israeli Arabs” (Sept. 23) that “93 percent of Israeli land is in the hands of the Jewish National Fund (JNF)” is totally incorrect.

Perhaps he is confusing JNF with the Israel Land Authority (ILA), which is a government agency that manages land in Israel. JNF owns about 13 percent of the land in Israel. It also owns land in both Syria and Jordan. Neither government allows JNF to utilize those lands.

Talmudic Surfer

Robert Altabet

The Sept. 16 piece, “Hanging Ten For A Minyan,” on Rabbi Eli Goodman, the “surfing Rabbi,” reminded me of a Talmudic story about Rabbi Akiva, in the first recorded instance of surfing some 1,600 years earlier than the European reports of surfing in Tahiti in 1767.

Supports Rev. Hagee

Kew Gardens Hills, Queens

Your story, “Jewish-Evangelical Alliance Fraying” (Sept. 16), raised the question of whom we affiliate with when it comes to the State of Israel.

While I feel Rabbi Joseph Potasnik is correct in stating that, “At a time when there is a dearth of friends for Israel, we should be grateful for ... support,” I do not believe that all groups that speak out for Israel have her best interest in mind.

Timid Establishment


Eagles Wings made a foolish move, not only by associating with Calev Myers, but by facilitating the Jewish Establishment's campaign to continue to try to shatter the important alliance between Evangelicals and Israel (“Jewish-Evangelical Alliance Fraying,” Sept. 16).

Diplomatic Spin


I wonder what will it take for Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer to stop the mealy-mouthed diplomatic spin about the terrible situation Israel is in vis-à-vis the Palestinian bid for statehood in the United Nations, Hamastan in Gaza and Israel’s increased isolation by her hostile neighbors (New York Minute, Sept. 23).

After all, you fail to mention that in addition to his ambassadorships, Kurtzer first worked in the U.S. State Department for many years as an advocate of the “land-for-peace” folly that has left Israel with no peace to show for it.

Abraham And Isaac

Professor Emeritus of Linguistics College of Staten Island, CUNY

Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, in his essay “Where Is The Love? The Cost Of Sacrifice” (Sept. 23), accepts the common interpretation of the Akedah: that Abraham was ready to obey God no matter what. I have always been struck by a discrepancy in the account: God tells Abraham directly to sacrifice Isaac, but an angel, not God, tells him to stop. It seems to me that the Akedah is about a lie Abraham told. He made up a story about the angel so that he wouldn’t have to kill Isaac.

Misreading Turner Win

Flushing, Queens

I believe Democrat David Weprin’s loss to Republican Bob Turner in the special election in the 9th Congressional District by approximately 3,500 votes was due to the Orthodox Jewish community's false obsession with an issue fueled by former Mayor Ed Koch’s claim that a vote for Turner would be a message to President Barack Obama about dissatisfaction with his Israeli policies. (I am Jewish and a resident of the district.)

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