We have been reading the many letters attacking the character and reputation of Steven Markowitz, our fellow board member and past president of Temple Israel of Great Neck.
These baseless letters, aside from containing unwarranted and unsupportable personal attacks, serve no legitimate purpose and indeed undermine appropriate discussion and consideration of issues that affect the future of our community.
First, we want to state our total and unwavering confidence in Steve and reject any notion that he is anti-Semitic or anti-Orthodox.
During his 40-plus years of membership in Temple Israel and in his multiple leadership roles, he has been a strong advocate of unity among members of our diverse Jewish community and has always been a leading proponent of cooperation and dialogue
He is a founder of the inter- rabbinic dialogue bringing together the clergy of our largest synagogues for discussion of topical religious and social issues each year. He is an unyielding defender of Israeli and Jewish causes frequently collaborating with religious and political leaders to denounce intolerance and racism.
Steve is a noted leader and one of the strongest voices in the fight against the BDS movement. He enjoys a mutually supportive relationship with the Persian and Chinese communities in Great Neck. He is someone we and others frequently look to for leadership on the difficult issues facing the Jewish people.
It is also very disturbing to hear suggestions that Steve should be ousted as chairman of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, which he has served with distinction for years, or that people should be dissuaded from contributing to its extraordinary work.
Steve has played a pivotal role in growing the organization which teaches thousands of students and adults the history and lessons of the Holocaust and the evils of religious and racial intolerance.
Through Steve, Great Neck schools have been uniquely served by the center’s programs designed to foster awareness and reduce tensions among differing cultures.
Our community’s diversity is something to be cherished, not exploited.
Cultural differences should be a source of strength and learning, not a vehicle to separate or divide us. Difficult issues of the day – political, religious or otherwise – should be openly and intelligently discussed. We all will be better for it.
The Officers and Members of the Board of Trustees
of Temple Israel of Great Neck