June 16, 2024
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Spotlight on Bergenfield’s Dovid Cofnas

Because of his unique background and professional experience, Rabbi Dovid Cofnas understands how The Jewish Link newspaper enhances the sense of connectedness that is essential to the Jewish community.

Cofnas was born in London, England, where his parents were always very much involved in Jewish life. His father, Rabbi Lionel Cofnas, was a beloved communal rav and posek until he passed away from COVID in 2020, and his mother was a Jewish studies teacher and rebbetzin. His family lived in London, Cardiff (Wales) and Liverpool, and because of his parents’ devotion and selfless work for their “kehilla,” Cofnas knew from a young age that he wanted to spend his life helping the Jewish people.

Cofnas received his bachelor’s degree from the London School of Advanced Jewish Studies (formerly Jews’ College), and his rabbinic ordination from Rav Yitzchok Kolitz, z”l, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. He has spent the last 23 years working in fundraising and development for Jewish nonprofits including NCSY and Shvut Ami. Recently he started work as the regional director of development for Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society (RCCS), which focuses on saving lives, maximizing recovery, and providing primarily medical and financial support for patients who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Cofnas and his wife, Gill, and their children live in Bergenfield. They daven in Congregation Beth Abraham and Ohr Chodosh and Cofnas enjoys attending Rabbi Neuburger’s shiurim, especially his Friday night winter series at his home.

The Jewish Link asked Cofnas a few questions about his passion for the newspaper.

Do you read The Jewish Link every week?

Yes—I always read it on Friday night after a long week, to catch up on the issues that are current in our community. I typically like to read it from cover to cover in one session, but recently, since the paper has been increasing in size, the only way to do that would be to take a full day off! So I usually cover whatever I couldn’t finish on Friday night, on Shabbat afternoon. Because of the popularity of the paper in our home, I sometimes pick up a second copy from the local store so that there is enough Jewish Link to go around!

What are your favorite sections of the paper?

I’m always interested to see and to read about what our local nonprofit organizations are doing to spread the word about their services and to help people in need—and it always amazes me how this community is working so hard to help almost every different possible type of social, financial and medical issue that people are dealing with. I’m proud to live in such an environment of true chesed and ahavat chinam. I have recently begun to realize and notice that there is a hidden culture of selflessness and generosity in Teaneck/Bergenfield and the surrounding areas in that a huge amount of chesed gets done under the radar and without any fanfare or recognition. So what you see in the newspaper is actually only the tip of the iceberg! Very few people are aware of that, of course.

How do you interact with the paper?

I often tear pages out after Shabbat to keep as reminders until I can put them into my to-do list, and after I’ve read it, I sometimes let my rabbit chew the pages as a special treat.

What does the paper mean to you?

I think the paper has filled a big void in our community of local Jewish news that particularly covers the shuls and schools in this area—and I like to keep up with that information. Other newspapers cover other types of community news of course, but for me, there was always something missing until The Link came along and filled that gap.

Has the paper made a difference in your life?

Gill and I often encourage our kids to enter your art competitions, and they have won several times over the years. Even our rabbit (Bun Bun from the Burrow of Bergenfield) was a runner-up in your Sukkot art competition when we sent in a picture of him sitting in his very own cardboard box sukkah that our kids designed. So I would say that we are definitely a Jewish Link family and the newspaper adds to our family fun.

By Harry Glazer

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