Regarding Morton Landowne’s letter responding to my own Letter to the Editor on Lincoln Square Synagogue (Letter, Jan. 29): First, “co-Segan” is not “gabbai” [Jewish Week editors provided that definition; the original letter did not define it]. Those with Hebrew knowledge will quickly intuit that it means “deputy” or “vice,” as in “vice-president.”
Second, I was decidedly not taking “it out on Lincoln Square Synagogue.” My letter was clearly directed towards the writer of the original [Jan. 3] article and in the process merely repeated facts about Lincoln Square’s recent spending. I placed the “[sic]” in my letter to specifically indicate that I was making a bit of a pun (“ungodly synagogue,” get it?). If Mr. Landowne doesn’t see that $50 million spent on an original $20-25 million budget (the amounts stated in the original article) as deserving of that “ungodly” description, then he’s possibly lacking a sense of proportion (or at bare minimum, humor).
For the record, Congregation Shearith Israel did indeed renovate about a decade ago; the cost was less than half what Mr. Landowne’s “memory serves” regarding his “rumored” amount.
Finally, Mr. Landowne makes a good point about the number of Jews of the Upper West Side (as we have approximately the same Jewish population as Cleveland!), and indeed the point of the article (and my letter) is that we are all (fortunately) drawing more people in. May our collective success continue!