A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME
With that, let me respond to questions I’ve received and clear up a few misconceptions regarding our tenant status and what all this means to the future of our congregation. Since most of us are used to an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) format (kinda like responsive reading), I’ll use that approach here.
Q. When will we need to vacate the premises? I heard we have to get out now.
A. You heard wrong (you need to come to shul more often). We have 4-1/2 years remaining on our lease and are entitled to occupy every inch of our space until that time.
Q. What about the building services the Church provides under the terms of our lease? Will they continue?
A. Yes. The Church will continue to live up to its obligations under the lease.
Q. Will this affect the terms of the mortgage note we presently hold on the building?
Q. Why didn’t you anticipate this? Don’t you keep in regular contact with Pastor Dan?
A. Pastor Dan and I speak regularly and have lunch occasionally. Our most recent discussion was over lunch (Ben’s Deli), where we discussed the money issues relative to the renewal of the lease. As far as we were both concerned at the time, we were going to remain in the building under the terms of a new lease.
Q. I know that we will be looking for another home for our congregation. What happens if we find something that fits our needs before the expiration of our lease? Will we incur any kind of penalty for leaving early?
A. No. Quite to the contrary, the Church will pay us to vacate our space prior to the expiration of the lease.
Q. What kind of space and location will we be looking for? Will this mean that we will have to merge with another congregation? Will you be taking Yom Tov and Shabbat walking restrictions into consideration?
A. Let me first say that finding another location appropriate to our needs will be the top priority of the Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees. Let me also emphasize that all options are on the table. It would be premature and unwise to exclude anything at this point. Time is on our side with over four years to go, but that doesn’t mean that we should wait until the lease expiration is right on top of us.
There are opportunities out there and we will take the necessary time to identify and evaluate them. And if something comes along sooner than later, that will be a good thing and we have to be ready for such an occasion. As for a merger, while that would not be on the top of the list, to ignore any option at this time would be foolish.
Q. You mention the Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees as leading the effort to find a new home. What about Rabbi Elkodsi? Will she be involved?
A. Absolutely. Rabbi Elkodsi will play a major role in finding a new home for our congregation. She is presently in the process of joining the Malverne Rotary and the Malverne Merchants Association, two community and business organizations that could prove very helpful to our search and in getting through the morass of zoning and permit issues.
She will also have to approve any location we select as being appropriate for our purpose. I mentioned the Executive Committee and the Board within the context of having the primary responsibility for finding a new location and for consummating the dealt, but Rabbi Elkodsi will be prominent in this process.
Q. Will we have enough money to pay for extensive renovations should we find a location suitable for our needs?
A. The mortgage note which we hold on the building contains a provision for a “balloon” payment of $1.4 million in September, 2020, which coincides with the expiration of our lease. While we will need a portion of the proceeds to help finance our operation going forward, I am certain we will have sufficient funds to perform the renovations required to make our new space suitable for our needs.
Q. When will the effort to find a new location begin?
A. It already has, with a kickoff discussion at the last Executive Committee meeting.
Q. Will you be keeping us informed relative to your progress?
A. Absolutely. We plan regular communications regarding our efforts. Stay tuned.
I hope this short Q&A addressed any questions or concerns you may have regarding this issue. On the other hand, if you have any questions not addressed herein, please do not hesitate to let me know. I also look forward to your input and suggestions as we begin a new phase in our life as a congregation.
Dave Feldman, President