May 26, 2024
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May 26, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Remembering Ari Fuld, H”YD

I woke up this past Sunday morning to a text from my daughter in Israel asking me if I knew the person who was killed in the stabbing attack that day.

“What stabbing attack?” I asked her.

Her next text was: “His name is Ari Fuld.”

I couldn’t believe it. Ari Fuld?

My MTA classmate who grew up near me in Queens? It must be another Ari Fuld.

Israel is small but what are the odds? There are probably other Ari Fulds.

So I went online and confirmed what my daughter told me. It was the Ari I knew.

I spent much of Sunday reading the news reports and later on in the day, watched the livestream of the late-night levaya in Efrat. In the 48 hours since, I have read and viewed more about Ari Fuld than I thought even possible. We have published in this week’s paper a number of pieces about Ari, and even one by him. As part of that review process, my editors and I learned even more about what has been said on the web about Ari.

I also watched many of the videos that are accessible online by him on his Facebook page and elsewhere. Although I am in the Jewish media world today, I wasn’t really aware of just how engaged Ari was…and how many videos he posted. Wow.

Every video I saw had some sort of tachlis, a purpose. For myself, my favorite videos were the ones of him grilling before Shabbat on his porch/mirpeset, and sharing a short and easy d’var Torah. I can’t fully explain why I liked those the best; I just did.

Ari and I were never close friends but we had known each other fairly well since our elementary school and day camp days and he was always strong-willed, strong-minded, self-confident, and Israel-oriented from a very young age. He also was never afraid of anyone or anything and became a karate black belt at a very early age. He graduated MTA with me in 1991 and never really came back to the U.S. after graduation, making aliyah shortly after. He was among the first in our graduating class to make aliyah (of nearly 30 classmates today) and unfortunately, he is also the first from our class to be niftar. To our classmates and I, Ari was practically the epitome of the tough, battle-tested, IDF-trained, American oleh who fully acclimated to Israel and embraced his adopted country with a full heart.

He visited me in The Jewish Link’s offices in the last few years when he was visiting his many friends and family members who live here and the main thing I can remember of our conversation is that he was happy for me that I had started The Link and that it was doing well. I recall we also spoke about what he was doing in Israel and all of his Israel advocacy and IDF support work. He was involved in so many unique projects aimed at supporting Israeli soldiers on the grassroots level, it was hard to keep them all straight.

Ari has been referred to as a hero, a true gibor, in these past few days and he truly was. The way he died only after running after and shooting his attacker solidified the image of Ari that we all had of him as a true Jewish hero and is probably the way that Ari himself would want to be remembered.

Ari, we will miss you and we hope and pray that you will continue pushing for the Jewish people and the land of Israel in the world to come—as strongly as you did here in this world.

By Moshe Kinderlehrer, co-publisher of the Jewish Link of NJ

Publisher’s Note: As part of recalling and remembering Ari, I asked a few of our MTA classmates to share a few words about Ari Fuld and I am proud to publish three short pieces below.

Ari Fuld was my high school classmate, and one of the few that I have remained in touch with since we graduated together in 1991. We lived on opposite ends of the world, took quite different paths in our lives, but yet remained in touch throughout the years. I always knew when Ari was celebrating a simcha – from his marriage, to his children’s births, and he was always among my calls when I would be celebrating a simcha as well. We didn’t speak often, and got together even less often, but when we did speak on the phone or in person it was as if we had been regularly in touch. We rarely spoke politics, rather we spoke about our families, sports, who we kept in touch with from high school and where are they now, etc.

That to me is the true definition of a friend.

It has been a very painful two days since learning the terrible news about Ari. I just wanted to mention that I visited Ari at his house last winter after leading a Birthright trip. I met his family and Ari and I sat for a few hours just reminiscing about high school and talking about Israel. He was delighted to hear any bit of information about our classmates and teachers and what people were up to. (He cracked up when I told him that my son was in Dr. Taylor’s class for the same class that we had in MTA.) When he talked about Israel it was with an excitement that was infectious. He also spoke about his service during the Lebanon war and the trauma he experienced. It motivated him to dedicate his whole being to spreading the truth about Israel in a world which is full of hostility. It was amazing to me that even though we hadn’t seen each other for many years, from the second we started talking it was as if no time had passed. Ari leaves behind a huge empty space that will need to be filled for the sake of the Jewish people for Israel and for truth.

We hadn’t seen each other since graduation but reconnected through the 25th high school reunion. We weren’t close, but I began following his Facebook soon after. He didn’t know this, but he became my connection to Israel. I learned more about what’s going on there through him than from any other source. This will be just one of many legacies he leaves behind…way too soon. Rest in peace.

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