East Side Unity


As an added note to the beautiful article, “Orthodox/Conservative/Reform Unity On The Upper East Side” (Sept. 2), I would like to highlight the roles of Rabbi David Posner of Temple Emanuel and Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove of the Park Avenue Synagogue in inspiring their congregations to open the doors of their buildings to the Ramaz Lower School following the disastrous fire in the Main Sanctuary of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun with its attendant water damage to the Ramaz Lower School building.

Both rabbis reached out to me immediately following the fire and offered whatever help we needed. When I called Rabbi Posner, with whom I have had a close relationship for decades, he assured me he would do everything possible to accommodate a large part of the Lower School.

There is a history to the spirit of unity among Orthodox, Conservative and Reform congregations on the Upper East Side. The three daughters of the late Rabbi Judah Nadich, for many years the rabbi of the Park Avenue Synagogue, were all educated at Ramaz. Moreover, this is not the first time that Ramaz and KJ have been in Temple Emanuel. In the 1970s my father, Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein, of blessed memory, delivered the main address in Yiddish at the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Organization commemoration in the main sanctuary of Temple Emanuel, and my great grandfather, Rabbi Moses Z. Margolies (known as the RaMaZ), the Rabbi of KJ from 1906 to1936, attended the funeral of the late, Louis Marshall, sitting in the first row of Temple Emanuel with his high rabbinic yarmulke.

It’s not just a fire that brings us together; it is the knowledge that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.

Rabbi, Congregation
Kehilath Jeshurun

Principal, Ramaz School