IT’S BEEN QUITE A YEAR
And now we made it through
All those doubts and fears
Couldn’t stop me and you.
“Quite a Year”, by James Shaffer
Continuing what is becoming a tradition, I introduce this month’s article with the relevant words of a song, and I couldn’t find words more appropriate to describe the year we’ve been through than James Shaffer’s “Quite a Year”. But before you make one of those faces, let me say that it’s been all good. No need for alarm here.
But lest you don’t recall where we were last year at this time, let me remind you of the uncertainty we were facing one year ago. As you may recall, the Bridge Church had initially informed us that they had no intention of renewing our lease upon its expiration in 2020. They later modified their position and agreed to negotiate an extension with us, but remained cool to the notion of being unable to use the space they’d been eyeing for several years if we remained beyond 2020. And while extremely remote, we still faced the possibility of a default on the mortgage note we held in connection with the sale of the building.
The second major uncertainty we faced was the status of Rabbi Elkodsi once her contract expired in another year. Would we be able to retain her to continue the fabulous work she’d been doing in reviving our shul and reversing years of decline? Would she want to remain in Malverne or return to her home in Connecticut to set up shop in a nearby synagogue, remaining closer to family and where she grew up?
Yes, all those doubts and fears certainly made it a scary time, at least for me.
Now, this is where “it’s been quite a year” comes in. Yes, during this past year we’ve transitioned from a period of extreme uncertainty to one of stability. We were able to extend our lease for another three years, to 2023, on terms which contained a few goodies, such as the inclusion of Jaci’s office, and janitorial, telephone and internet services in the new lease. And as far as the mortgage note, that uncertainty was eliminated when as part of the lease agreement, the Bridge Church paid it off with an additional $10,000 to boot.
And with respect to Rabbi Elkodsi’s status, we recently celebrated her installation as our spiritual leader for at least another six years.
Stability is certainly good.
Now that we’ve dealt with the major uncertainties we faced, it’s time to build on the solid foundation of stability we’ve created during the past year. It’s time to affirmatively decide on the kind of congregation we see ourselves being. What is our vision for the future? What do we see as our mission as synagogue? How will we grow our membership, something so vital to our long-term viability as a congregation? How will we encourage present members to be more active in the life of our shul? As I’ve discussed in previous articles, these are issues with which we must and will be dealing in the coming months.
As we approach the High Holidays, it’s been traditional that I report to you on the state of MJC. Without repeating my summary of the past, incredible year, let me say that our shul is quite healthy, both in terms of our finances but more importantly, in how we respect and care for each other. We are always there when the call goes out, be it to join in saying kaddish for a congregant’s loved one or to just listen when listening can mean so much. This has always been our strong point and will remain the one thing that will keep us going as a congregation. Remember, all those doubts and fears couldn’t stop me and you and they never will.
At this time, I’d like to join Emilee in wishing you and your family a New Year filled with only good things. I look forward to seeing you at High Holiday services and at our services and other events throughout the year.
L’ Shana Tova.
Dave Feldman, President