Arnold Fine, Longtime Jewish Press Editor And Columnist, Passes Away At 90


arnold-fineArnold Fine, a beloved fixture at The Jewish Press for more than half a century, passed away in his sleep at his home in Battery Park City, Manhattan, on Friday, September 5, at age 90.

Fine’s association with the late founder of The Jewish Press, Rabbi Sholom Klass, began before The Jewish Press was launched when Fine worked for The Brooklyn Daily and Brooklyn Weekly, both published by Rabbi Klass.

In the mid-1960s Fine started writing a weekly Jewish Press column called “I Remember When” (an exclamation point would eventually be added to the title). The column, which brought to life the sights, sounds, and smells of New York City in the 1930s and ’40s, quickly became one of the paper’s most popular features and to this day has continued to enchant readers of all ages.

The paper will continue to publish the column, said associate publisher Naomi Klass Mauer.

“The subjects Arnie wrote about are timeless and new generations have always taken to the column’s warmth and nostalgia,” she said. “His writings will live on even though he is no longer with us.”

Fine’s writing spoke to generations of readers, both Jewish and non-Jewish. Several of his articles appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of inspirational short stories; his article “The Letter in the Wallet” appeared in Reader’s Digest and has been reprinted in numerous anthologies and appeared on countless websites and blogs (sometimes under the shorter title “The Wallet”).

In addition to his work at The Jewish Press, where he eventually served as senior editor, Fine was a photographer, a musician, and an educator.

An armed forces veteran, he had the distinction of being in both the Navy and the Army. He joined the Navy at the end of World War II and then found himself drafted by the Army a few weeks later.

After the war he roamed New York City as a press photographer with a 4×5 camera shooting for local newspapers. Looking to get ahead in the newspaper business, he went to college and earned a bachelor’s degree thanks to the GI Bill.

Later on, after going back to college for a master’s in education, he became a celebrated special education teacher in the New York City school system. He was a pioneer in teaching brain-injured children and was loved by his students and their parents.

A natural musician, he played the clarinet, saxophone, and piano and loved the old big bands and their music.

Late in life he developed Parkinson’s disease but was still able to get around with the aid of a wheelchair. He was a frequent sight in Battery Park City where he could occasionally be spotted with the family poodle, Lisette, sitting on his lap as he wheeled down the Esplanade.

A loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he was predeceased by his wife, Edith, who passed away in 2006. He is survived by three children, Jay (spouse Cindy), Brian (spouse Dina), and Martin (spouse Janet); six grandchildren, Eric (spouse Cece), Daniel (spouse Tara), Joan, Sarah, Max, and Adam; and two great-grandchildren, Ella and Eve.

Kevurah was at New Montefiore Jewish Cemetery in West Babylon, New York.


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  1. BDE As someone now in my 50’s I grew up with Jewish Press. The first things I read each week was I remember when and the middle page (not necessarily in that order) Although I moved on to other Jewish weeklies I still got to read from time to time when I go to visit my in laws. He will be missed.

  2. I think that as a tribute we should mention his jokes – or at least the punch lines.

    I’ll go first – “What are you whispering for?
    She’s deaf too!”

  3. to # 1
    who cares

    for those of us who grew up in the sixties and seventies

    he was someone with a big jewish heart that spoke to all of us
    he will be missed

    frum is between him and his maker!

  4. I am among the many thousands of Jews who used to read his column first, in the days before Hamodia , Yated and all the helpful publications since. BTW: if you have never tried to produce an interesting and relevant piece for weekly publication of any kind, don’t knock Arnold Fine’s efforts, especially because his heart was aimed at Jews. I know from experience.

  5. I used to enjoy his columns in my youth. He was modern orthodox.
    The old type American yid. He grew up in a frum house, from all the
    stories he had told

  6. Nowadays, we are B”H spoiled by many magazines and newspapers that cater to the Jewish community that find a place even in Torah homes. Growing up in the 70s, the Jewish Press was the paper of record even in the frummest homes. Any new chosson and kallah looking for an apartment would rush to get the Jewish Press as soon as it hit the stands to check the classifieds! Hearing about Arnold Fine brings back many Friday night memories. May his family be comforted among the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim.

  7. There is always the haphazard jew online who asks was he frum, did he keep the shabbas, was he a macher. Such is the spirit of the damnation of personal inadequacy. No one gets to live without their permission. You see it time and time
    Why pay your taxes if the one being honored can be cut down. Shame shame dismal shame.

  8. to say someone is not frum is not loshon hora

    in sefer chofetz chaim he says explicitly that someone who is not frum does not fall under the possuk ‘lo salaich rochil bi’amisecha’ cuz he is not part of ‘your nation’ cuz he doesn’t keep mitzvos, thereby making it permitted to say loshon hora about him.

    and btw arnold fine was frum and was a fine jew

  9. You all have it wrong. Frum or not makes all the difference in the world. Frum is bechezkas kashrus and has a chezkas tzaddik. Openly being mechalel Shabbos and an avrayan is, unfortunately, a rasha and not a good person no matter what. (Unless you want to play the tinok shenishba card, which is overused and hard to apply in NYC and the JP offices.) You would not call someone who spits in your father’s face publicly a good person no matter what. If you are not a similar kanoi on the kovod of H’ you have no yiras shomayim. Rabeinu Yonah in Shaarei Teshuva explains this at length. The frum question is relevant and an obvious curiosity.
    What #1 got wrong was his timing. It was extremely callous and tasteless to ask this question now in a public forum. I hope Mr. Fine z”l was frum.
    I also grew up reading I remember when, Abi gezunt and his other articles.

  10. Dear Editor,
    My previous comment (#17) may be taken the wrong way, and also may be inappropriate at this time.
    Kindly remove it, edit it or leave it as is – whichever you feel is best.
    Thank you

  11. To #14 to #1 “& if he wasn’t isn’t that loshon hora?!”

    the answer to your question is no it is not loshon harah, as there is no issur of speaking loshon harah on someone who is not shomer torah and mitzvos

  12. The gemorah of Eloyohu Hanavi pointing out two people on the market place as being Bnei Olam Haba because they were Mismaech other people hopefully will apply to Arnold Fine.

  13. What #1 meant to ask ‘Does Matzav write about any Jewish personality that dies’ There was a lady comedian who passed away last week, no mention of her was made in Matzav.

  14. The answer as to why #1 asked that question is because he only cares about frum yidden. Anyone else to him is not worth caring about

    For shame