AVI CHAI concluded its general grant making on December 31, 2019.

Improving the Jewish World in Life and in Death

Posted by: dperla

August 19, 2011

When Matt Fenster was diagnosed with leukemia a year and a half ago, the perpetual optimism he displayed in his search for a bone marrow donor was an inspiration to his friends, his family and to the community of Riverdale, NY where Matt and his family lived. That sense of optimism, combined with a deeply held faith in God, inspired Matt’s family and friends to search far and wide for a bone marrow donor. Matt became the focal point of a Jewish communal effort to register bone marrow donors. For Matt, that effort ultimately lead  to a bone marrow transplant that took place nearly a year ago. Matt appeared to be well on his way to recovery.
Unfortunately, the transplant did not take and by March of this year Matt was back in the hospital. After a second transplant attempt failed, his doctors informed him there was little more they could do. Matt decided to stop further treatment and to spend the rest of his days with his wife and three young children “living each day to its fullest”. In response to the question of what his friends could do for him in his remaining months, Matt made a heartfelt request. The request was an appeal for each and every person to cease speaking lashon hara (malicious speech). He spread this dying wish to thousands of people in the Jewish community through his blog.
Matt passed away yesterday afternoon with his extraordinary wife, Jennifer, by his side. Jennifer described the death of her 38 year old husband as comfortable and peaceful. Now Matt and his family have only final request. Matt valued Jewish education and was an advocate for Jewish day schools. The Fenster family has established a fund in Matt’s memory– the Matthew S. Fenster Jewish Education Fund (through the auspices of the Jewish Communal Fund).  Its objective is to fulfill Matt’s dream of assisting families to afford a Jewish day school education. I’ll be contributing to the fund and I hope you will as well. For Matt’s sake and for the Jewish community’s sake.
Donations made payable to the Jewish Communal Fund should be sent to (**memo section MUST indicate our particular fund:  Matthew S. Fenster Jewish Education Fund**):
Jewish Communal Fund
575 Madison Ave, Suite 703
New York, NY 10022
Dan Perla is Program Officer of Day School Finance at The AVI CHAI Foundation.

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