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Department of Misreported Conversations


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To the editors:

I have just completed Florence Levinsohn's article entitled: "The Importance of Being Jewish" [August 7]. The misinformation she attributes to our conversation is striking. Either her hearing is remarkably selective, or her desire to condense the material said was so strong that her typewriter could not be bridled by something as mundane as the facts! Permit me to remind her what was said over the phone:

1. I never said that the Friday Night Group was a "singles club." What I did say was that it is an affiliate organization whose membership draws mainly from the single population.

2. The reference that "they know little or nothing about ritual" was in regards to young Jews in general and not to the Friday Night Group in particular.

3. The audio tapes are part of our Adult Education Program and have not been a major part of the Friday Night Group's program.

4. We made a major change to the Religious School program a few years back which resulted in a major increase in our enrollment. The school itself is well over 50 years old.

Florence's misreporting has caused me great embarrassment in my community. Whether the reason behind these errors was carelessness or malice it matters not to me. Nothing less than a written retraction will be acceptable.

Michael S. Siegel

Associate Rabbi

Anshe Emet Synagogue

N. Pine Grove

Florence Levinsohn replies:

I regret that there were misunderstandings between Rabbi Siegel and myself that resulted in embarrassment for him. I did work closely from our taped conversations. The errors probably arose because, as sometimes happens in interviews, things were said loosely and not clarified precisely. (1) There was no reference to a formal title of the Friday Night Group, but simply a description of a group of single people who meet regularly. (2) The remark about people knowing little or nothing about ritual was made in the context of the description of the group of singles. (3) There was no mention of an adult education program. (4) The numbers are as they were given me.

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