Letters | Ari Fuld and Vilna Shul

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Setting the Record Straight on ZOA

My dear friend Ari Fuld, an American-Israeli father of four and ardent fighter for Israel, was recently murdered by a Jew-hating Arab (“Organization Calling Out Hill Should Look in Mirror,” Jan. 17). In my moment of excruciating grief and horror that Arab terrorists were again murdering innocent Jews by knifing, shooting and ramming cars at them, I tweeted an epithet specifically against Ari Fuld’s murderer — not all Arabs. Yet a critic condemned me for my verbal outpouring of grief and misery over losing my great friend and ally.

The same letter writer also criticized me for questioning actress Natalie Portman’s wisdom after she received Israel’s prestigious $1 million Genesis Prize, then defamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as racist and falsely bashed Israel for violence and abuse of power, and mistreatment of and atrocities against Arabs. Portman also falsely stated that Israel was created as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust. In fact, the movement to re-establish Israel occurred long before the Holocaust. Knesset member Oren Hazan demanded that Portman be stripped of her Israeli citizenship, while I only questioned her wisdom.

The critic then referenced a mainstream Jewish umbrella group’s warning to ZOA about our tone. ZOA’s substance and facts were admittedly accurate. The real issue was that ZOA criticized ADL for promoting the anti-Semitic Israel-bashing BlackLivesMatter and J Street, which promoted anti-Israel UN resolutions; ADL’s lobbying against state anti-BDS laws; and ADL accusing pro-Israel friends of Islamophobia. ZOA also criticized National Council of Jewish Women and HIAS for defending Israel-hater Linda Sarsour. ZOA responded to the umbrella group’s warning that in an era of frighteningly rising anti-Semitism on campuses, in the media and in Congress, ZOA must strongly and boldly speak the truth.

Morton Klein | Merion Station

Vivid Memories of Vilna Shul

Reading your recent article about the Vilna Congregation on Pine Street brought back vivid memories from my childhood in the 1920s and 1930s (“Historic Vilna Congregation Closes for Renovations,” Jan. 10). My grandparents, Samuel and Rachel Malerman, and then my father, Bernard Malerman, owned Malerman’s Hebrew Bookstore. Until the 1960s, when the city forced my father to move the store, it was located at 504 Pine St., across the street from the synagogue.

When I was young, my grandmother would send over gefilte fish and challah to the congregation every Friday morning. Even after she died in 1947, my father continued the tradition. What a sense of community that showed, especially when my family attended a different synagogue.

Marilyn Malerman Hindin | Philadelphia

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