Biography

Alter was born in Miami, Florida in 1952. He is the son of Moses (z’l] and Frieda Alter. Alter attended public school in Miami-Dade County. After graduating from Coral Gables Senior High School, he enrolled at Miami-Dade Junior College where he was a member of the gymnastics team. Two years later he transferred to Florida State University where he completed his degree. During those two years in Tallahassee Alter was a member of the gymnastics team that competed at a club level. Immediately after graduation he returned to Miami and was hired as a teacher in the Miami Dade County Public School System. Subsequently, while teaching, he started working on his master’s at Florida International University.

In conjunction with his masters studies, he began research on his first textbook, Science of Stretching, published in 1988. Alter was always intrigued by the topics of flexibility and range of motion as these issues directly related to gymnastics. A paperback version, Sport Stretch, was published in 1990.

During the early 1980s, Alter joined Havurah of South Florida, a Jewish fellowship associated with the Reconstructionist movement. In 1991 he published his first book in the field of Judaica, What Is The Purpose of Creation? A Jewish Anthology, the main selection of The Jewish Book News. At this time Alter became affiliated with Chabad, where he deepened his study of Torah and Jewish traditions. At this point Science and Flexibility (2nd edition) was published.

Two years later, Jason Aronson published Alter’s text, Why The Torah Begins With The Letter Beit (1998). This 300 plus page work presents the reader a wide range of explanations and interpretations of the letter Beit [ב] and specifically why God choose that letter to begin His revelation. The work includes excerpts from the Talmud, Midrash, commentaries, and the Kabbalah. For a second time, one of his books was named the main selection of the Jewish Book News. At the same time the second edition of Sport Stretch was published. In 2004, the third edition of Science of Flexibility went on the market. Both Science of Flexibility and Sport Stretch have been published in twelve languages. In addition, the latter was quoted in an article on Yoga in the December 2012 NY Times Sunday Review.

Alter’s interest in the field of Jewish apologetics began in the 1980s when he was a member of Havurah of South Florida. The spark was a class taught by Rabbi Norman Lipson, a guest teacher. Among the topics that Lipson discussed were Key ’73 [The avowed objective of Key ’73 was “to confront every person in North America more fully and forcibly with the gospel of Jesus Christ.”] and the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. An important object of these efforts was to convert Jews to the Christian faith. Alter became concerned over Christian attempts to witness, evangelize, and proselytize Jews; his concern prompted him to research this topic.

Early in Alter’s research he recognized that in Miami, there was a lack of material that provide necessary information This lack motivated him to travel to Cincinnati to further delve into research at the Hebrew Union College’s Klau Library. Alter soon realized that in order to further his knowledge of Jewish apologetics it would also be necessary to go to Christian seminaries and actually study their writings. Consequently, during an eleven year period, he travelled to Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Kansas City, Lakeland, New York, Orlando, Springfield (MO), Tampa, and other cities to continue his research.

Alter’s resulting text, The Resurrection: A Critical Inquiry, was a direct challenge raised by Anthony Buzzard, a prolific Biblical Unitarian. They corresponded over a lengthy period of time. Although they agree that Jesus is not God and that there is no such thing as the Trinity, Buzzard adamantly maintains that Jesus is the Messiah, a theological position that Alter totally rejects. It was during several communications that Alter was challenged by Buzzard to refute Jesus’s physical, bodily resurrection – supposedly the ultimate proof that Jesus is the Messiah (and also God for mainline Christianity). During a decade and more, Alter worked to meet Buzzard’s challenge, that Jesus was not physically, bodily resurrected.

Friday, January 30, 2015, Alter retired after teaching social studies, biology, and physical education over a period of forty-one years.

Currently Alter lives in West Kendall, in unincorporated Miami-Dade County. His interests are eclectic. Alter’s major passion is learning Torah, researching, and writing. He also enjoys working out at the gym and listening to classical music.

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