If you guessed: “What are the opening lyrics to Auld Lang Syne,” you would have had the correct answer on at least one Jeopardy question. If you had been a little show-offish (as I’m being here), you would have answered: “What words from a 1788 Robert Burns Scots poem are used universally to welcome the New Year? and probably would have qualified for Final Jeopardy. Now, you ask, what purpose other than showing I know how to use Google does this have to do with MJC and the subject of this article? Well, except for using the newness of the new year as a backdrop, absolutely nothing.

I’d like to use this backdrop (yes, I know we had our New Year several months ago) to discuss recent events at MJC and what we have on the drawing board in the coming months. First off, for those of you who have visited the Berger Room recently, you noticed our version of “Chicken Little,” where instead of the sky falling, our old ceiling was removed to make way for a fire sprinkler system, which the Bridge Church is installing to comply with the local fire code. We are looking at several options for its replacement, which will be driven in large part by what we want, tempered by cost and what is feasible construction-wise.

While the Church is bearing the full cost of this project, we will most likely be using it to jump start other improvements we plan on making to the room to make it more inviting to both our members and for those whom we’d like to become members
And, while most of our improvements will be cosmetic in nature, we should not under-estimate the effectiveness of a coat of paint in sending the message to all that we are ready to emerge from the 1950’s. At this time, I can’t give you a time estimate as to when the work will be complete, but we will push to get it done as soon as possible and before we get too accustomed to living in a construction zone.

And speaking of the Berger Room, we’ve recently initiated a program whereby those who are not readily able to attend our services and other events because they’ve given up driving or for some other reason, can now avail themselves of the taxi service we’ve arranged with a third-party taxi company at no cost to the person requiring such assistance. The full cost of the service will be borne by MJC. The only requirement is membership in good standing and the need to utilize such a service because an alternate means is not readily available. Now all can visit the Berger Room and witness the replacement of the sky … err, ceiling.

But seriously, our Board of Trustees has made this service available to you because we want you to be a part of MJC in every way and not having transportation readily available should not stand in the way of that desire. So please, plan to join us as we roll out a vast array of programs for every taste, be it the celebration of our Yom Tovs, to movies, book discussions or an upcoming play we have planned early in the year. We plan to have a lot on our plate of activity in the new year and encourage you to take a bite or two.

As the year begins, we will finally be getting to what I’ve discussed almost ad nauseum in previous issues of the Newsletter. And that is the initiation of a planning process to define a longer-term Vision for our shul and with that, our Mission as both a religious and community organization.

Rabbi Elkodsi and I have discussed both the need for such a process and the need to go forward with its initiation. So, we hope to begin in January with a small group and eventually roll out the plan development to the general congregation. As I’ve said before (and this time I mean it), more to come on this very important endeavor.

So, as I did at the outset of 5778, Emilee and I would like to extend our very best wishes to you and your family for a New Year filled with nothing but good things and we look forward to spending it with you at the Malverne Jewish Center. Let’s not let “old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind.”

Dave Feldman, President