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This Month...

Editor's Comment
Michael looks at:
Farewell, Shalom and Adieu

Being Jewish Magazine

see a .pdf copy of the current issue

An Open Letter from Abba to His Family

Enough With The Political Finger-Pointing!

Revisiting the Haggadah

Eddy's Recipe List
Victoria Sponge

Book Review
Unstrung Heroes

The Outspeaker
Encouraging violence is never correct

Good times and bad times with Batya

Nathan Weissler
What my friendship with Michael Hanna-Fein meant to me

Marjorie Wolfe
An Interview with Paul Reiser

BC's Backlot
The Last Shalom

This And That
My Treasure Chest

Three Symbols of Passover


Lynn Ruth Miller
How we all became part of a bigger story

Mel Yahre
A few words for my friend

Eddy's Thoughts
Don't let life flutter by

The Bear Facts
How I found Michael

Jenni Rudner March 18, 2012
     My pen-pal

Dear Arnold

It is with great surprise that I read of Michael’s passing. You will note that I call him “Michael” because I joined the Megillah Family many years ago and had the privilege of corresponding with Michael very often. He was truly a member of my family.

I cannot believe the sense of loss I felt when reading of Michael’s passing. This gentle soul was a “pen pal”, a stranger, who I felt was a friend.

May his dear soul rest in peace. I wish you all strength and peace through this very difficult time.

Warm regards
Jenni Rudner
South Africa

Editor-> Thank you for your kind words - Arnold
Sonia Pressman Fuentes March 18, 2012
     Michael was my friend

Dear Arnold:

When I received your Tribute issue of the Megillah, I first read your moving tribute to Michael. Then I read the moving tributes from three of your regular column writers--and my first thought was: Who are these people? Michael was my friend.

And then I realized that since Michael was dear to me and I am a writer, it's time I wrote something about Michael.

My relationship with Michael began several years ago with a tirade on my part. Someone had told me about the Gantseh Megillah and when I went to the website, what did I see but an article by Phyllis Schlafly, an arch-enemy of feminists, such as I, and a former member of the John Birch Society. I was aghast and sent off an angry email to Michael blasting him for publishing Schlafly.

He saw this as an invitation to a loving friendship, which he then embarked upon. He told me he didn't know that much about Schlafly, that the article he published dealt with a subject unrelated to women's rights, and vowed never to publish her again. (He never did.)

That was the beginning of my close friendship with Michael and you. I cannot, of course, write about Michael without writing about you, Arnold. I have always referred to you as a saint and I see no reason to stop now. Because of Michael's physical disabilities, it fell on you to do all the work of running your household: you did the grocery shopping, cooking, driving the car, taking care of your two dogs, and worked hand-in-glove with Michael on publishing the monthly and weekly Megillahs. I remember the beautiful artwork you did for some of the Megillahs. With regard to your work on the Megillah, Arnold, I think you forgot that you are not Jewish. I never heard you voice a complaint about all this. Instead, you considered yourself lucky to be sharing your life with Michael. I've known many people in my life, Arnold, but have never known anyone like you and don't believe there is another person like you on this planet.

I had the privilege of being with you and Michael twice: first, when you visited me at my townhouse in Potomac, MD, and, second, when I came to Montreal for your wedding. As I mentioned, I still have and treasure the cup from your wedding with the picture of the two of you. When I came to Montreal, I visited you in your current apartment and remember watching the two of you seated on your couch, in front of your computers, being together happily side-by- side.

Michael published a number of my articles in the Megillah; one that I recall is "A Love Letter to Ostuni," about my experience teaching school in Italy. He also reviewed my memoir, Eat First--You Don't Know What They'll Give You, The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter.

In 2005, I had to travel from my townhouse in Potomac, MD, to Cleveland, OH, for surgery--and the recuperation turned out to be longer than anticipated, eleven days instead of just a few. Michael called me every single day to see how I was doing. Only my brother called me as often. So, when Michael was in the Montreal Jewish Hospital this past year, I was able to return the favor and called him just about every day. During this time, I developed a pattern of sharing information with Susan Smolenski, who, with her husband and family, also met Michael through the Megillah and became a dear friend of his. Whenever I spoke to Michael or you about Michael's condition, I'd email or telephone Susan about it and she did the same with me. Sadly, I was the one to telephone and speak to her husband, Tony, when you told me we had lost Michael.

There are a great many people who come into one's life during a lifetime--but only a handful truly love and care about us. Michael was one who loved me, and I him. His loss is devastating and his presence in my life is irreplaceable. I am so glad, however, that I can continue my loving friendship with you.


Sonia Pressman Fuentes
Speaker, Author, "Eat First--You Don't Know What They'll Give
You, The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter"

Editor-> Thank you Sonia, Michael cherished his friends
Alan Abrams March 15, 2010
Michael: Just a note to say that I hope everything goes well with your operation Wednesday. As always, I'll be praying for you. Please tell Arnold to keep me posted. Your friend, Al
Joe Klock, Sr. March 16, 2010
     Good Wishes
Sorry to read about your physical problems. Sometimes I think God sends us these problems to remind us what love is all about. Hang in there, Pal...and scratch both Partner and Pug behind the ears for me! Shalom Yussel
John Biren March 12, 2010
Just saw your Yiddish Glossary for the 1st time, and I was delighted as well as filled with nostalgic thoughts of my youth and a mother who spoke to me in Yiddish.. I thank you so very much One expression my Mom occasionally used that I didn’t note in the glossary is as follows: Az dosy dus delebyn vest du meshiach auchet delebyn…..If you live to see it you’ll also live to see the Messiah. (cynical put-down) My mother was born in Lodz, Poland and died in Los Angeles 1961 after a very full life. I was born in St.Paul, MN in 1920, and came to Los Angeles right after becoming an inactive army air corps reserve officer in 1946. Continue the good work and thanks again.
Editor-> Shalom John, Thank you for the encouraging words and for sharing some of your life with us.
Norene August 30, 2009
     Happy Anniversary
Hi Michael and Arnold, Wishing you a happy 1st anniversary next week – although you’ve been together so much longer than a year. Wishing you continued happiness, good health and all the luck in the world. The best gift I can wish you is the gift of health! Enjoy your wedding cake!!! Love, Norene

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