TEMPLE TALK Little Neck Jewish Center Vol 5 Issue 4 LNJC.org January 5769 Message from Hazzan Mordechai Schram This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine Light is a central and powerful image in our prayers and in our lives. The Torah begins with the words “G-d said, ‘let there be light’; and there was light. G-d saw that the light was good, and G-d separated the light from the darkness” (Bereshit 1:3-4). It is important to note that the sun was not created until the fourth day. We understand from this that the source of light is from G-d not from the sun. Continuing on light themes: The first b’raha before the Shema, often called yotzer after the phrase yotzer or u-vorei hoshekh – “…who forms light and creates darkness”, deals primary with our recognition of G-d as Creator, with reference especially to the morning sunlight. The blessing ends Baruh ata adosehm, yotzer ha-m'orot - Blessed are You, Eternal G-d, who forms with the phrase " lights." Rav Munk says the “light” of this blessing refers not merely to the newly dawned day, but to the physical forces of creation itself. Light is the energy-giving, life-giving force of the universe. More on light: We both enter into and depart from Shabbat with light; the light of the Shabbat and Havdallah candles. We try to bring this light of Shabbat inside of us and then carry that light into the week. On Hanukkah the light is a miracle. We pray for the light of the Hanukkah candles to illumi- nate the path(s) toward rededicating (Hanukkah means dedication) ourselves to the ways of Torah. The lights of our rituals are, therefore, a powerful metaphor for the light of G-d and the light in which we are always striving to find within ourselves. Light is both physical and spiritual; it represents rebirth, return and renewal; it connects us to our wonder of being part of the splendor G-d’s creation and in turn toward Torah, thankfulness and faith. On this Hanukkah may we rediscover and rededicate ourselves to finding the light inside all of us to make our world a better place. Hag Urim Sameach – wishing you all a happy and meaningful festival of lights. Page 2 President’s Message by Steve Aronowitz FROM THE PRESIDENT… IMPORTANT NEWS REGARDING START OF CONSOLIDATION TALKS At a special board meeting held on December 17, the following motion was passed unanimously with two ab- stentions: “Authorize the establishment of a steering committee to negotiate for a possible consolidation between Little Neck Jewish Center and Marathon Jewish Center. The steering committee is author- ized to establish sub-committees, as needed, and report to the Board of Trustees on a regular basis.” The process actually began at last year’s Yom Hashoah memorial service when I first met the Marathon Jew- ish Center president, Dr. Abe Dyzenhaus. We also spoke walking down 5th Avenue at last spring’s Israeli Day Parade. We developed quick rapport and decided to speak again after the summer. Here is the background leading up to the decision to convene formal discussions related to the Board’s re- cent action: ?? In September, our Board of Trustees approved the establishment of an exploratory committee to dis- cuss the possible consolidation of Little Neck Jewish Center and Marathon Jewish Center Hebrew schools. MJC has approximately 30 students presently enrolled; LNJC has over 90 students. The committees from the respective synagogues met twice and it was quickly apparent that there was in- terest in discussing the potential of a full consolidation. ?? At a meeting held on December 7, the respective committees were joined by the president of Wan- tagh Jewish Center who spoke with us about the recent successful merger process with Farmingdale Jewish Center. ?? At the December 7 meeting, the committees determined that before going any further a motion (listed above) should be presented to the respective congregations for the purpose of ascertaining the inter- est level of conducting meaningful discussions regarding the future of both Jewish Centers. This decision is, of course, a major development, particularly following what many would consider a low point in our 60-year history. I am aware of the concerns of many of our congregants. Some individuals reflect, “It’s too early following our last experience.” Others believe, “There is a good feeling in the temple right now. Why risk another disappointment?” And some members sense that “our financial condition is good; we don’t need a partner.” As president, I am elated that there is a ‘good feeling,’ but I assure you, it is temporary. Our financial situation is barely adequate and that is only because of an increase in membership dues and school tuition, and generous gifts from two recently deceased members. So, if you believe that our financial condition is sound, even though demographics indicate few Jewish families are moving into our area, then consider that we are negotiating from a position of strength. Page 3 As we approach negotiations, we will learn from our past experiences and, while those who played a signifi- cant role in our last consolidation talks will not serve in similar positions, we will utilize their knowledge and skills to avoid potential problems. As we now know, negotiations of this magnitude require sensitivity, open-mindedness, and vision. I have rec- ommended to the Board and it has been accepted that the following individuals will join me on the Steering Committee: ?? Executive Vice-president George Neiderman has served the temple in his present role for two terms. He is the consummate team player whose calm, unexcitable approach will be invaluable. ?? Vice-president for Education, Debbie Sosman, has earned a reputation of someone who “gets things done” and has great ability in bringing individuals to consensus, as evidenced by the continued im- provements of our Hebrew School program. ?? Board trustee Barbara Levine brings a wealth of financial knowledge and a savvy ability to communi- cate. I believe the Steering Committee members of Marathon Jewish Center come to the table with the same hopes we have. Granted I have only met a few individuals representing MJC; however, I sense our values are similar and that the two synagogues present “a good match.” Time will tell. Obviously, nothing is certain; however, I am optimistic that we will reach accord in a timely manner, essential to the process. As we move forward, sub-committees may be formed and other members will be asked to join us as, together, we determine the future of Little Neck Jewish Center. A critical area of concern which was brought up by several trustees at the December meeting was communi- cation. Negotiations, quite naturally, take several up-and-down swings and sometimes information has to be considered confidential (for a time period); however; the Steering Committee’s commitment to each mem- ber of the congregation is to provide information on a regular basis, through meetings and written communi- cation. As has always been my practice, any member may contact me (516) 353-0599 to discuss temple business. The Steering Committee members have discussed what we believe are “non-negotiable” items for a success- ful consolidation. To reiterate, we are sensitive to the feelings and needs of our members. The ‘balance of power’ provides the Steering Committee with great decision-making responsibility; in the end, however, the congregation votes ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ We begin these talks using that knowledge as our guide. In conclusion, I appreciate the confidence you have in me as president. I assure you that I take the responsi- bility seriously and every decision I make will reflect my commitment to the synagogue. The same will hold true for each member of the Steering Committee. Page 4 Religious School News by Mr. Beryl Kwitkin Religious School News The first mini- semester has ended and report cards have been mailed to parents. Parents have also received, via e-mail, their child’s grade curriculum. The wording of the curriculum has been changed to make it easier for parents to see the “academic expectations” for students in the different subjects they are taught. The highlight of December programming in the Religious School took place on Wednesday, December 10 th, when the School-Wide Yiddish Competition #1 was held. Students in grades Aleph through Hey participated in demonstrating their knowledge of the ten Yiddish words (nosh, kvetch, shelp, shmutz, oy vey, plotz, nu, shamooze, chutzpah, and kibbutz) they had been learning during the 1st mini-semester. During this Yiddish Competition, our “Guest Judges”, Steve Aronowitz and Debbie Sosman, made public the scores on the ten original Yiddish sentences each class had previously submitted and then our Guest Judges evaluated a “skit” each class preformed to demonstrate their understanding of the ten Yiddish words which had been studied. For the final part of this competition, Mr. Kwitkin asked each class to answer “Jeopardy!” type questions for the “extra” food related Yiddish words (bagel, lox, bialy, blintz, halvah, gefilte fish, knish, kugel, rugelach) which also had been studied. Classes scored within five points of each other and will take their scores into the next round of the Yiddish Competition, to be held in March 2009. (Note: The judges, teachers, Mr. Kwitkin, and the parent in attendance were all kvelling from the nachas being demonstrated by students during this Yiddish Competition.) Todah rabah (thank you) to Mrs. Laurie Neiderman (and to her helpers) for putting together a Chanukah gift bag for the students in our Religious School. The box of candles, dreydel, and chocolate coins helped to make the holiday of Chanukah a bit more practical and enjoyable for students. Parents should have received the second e- mail report of their children’s Junior Congregation / Shabbat atten- dance. It is the responsibility of parents to “self-report” the dates when their children have attended Shabbat services (other than Junior Cong.) in order to work towards satisfying each grade’s service attendance require- ment. On Friday evening January 30 the second grade service, focusing in upon Daled students, will take place. Daled students will help Cantor Schram conduct this welcoming service for Shabbat. All are invited to attend and participate in this unique Shabbat experience. On January 5th, upon their return to Religious School from the Chanukah / winter recess, students will gather in an assembly to welcome the new Jewish month of Tevet, by reciting sections of the Hallel prayer and eating a Rosh Chodesh (new month) snack of cookies and apple juice. Page 5 In January students in each class will be collecting money to purchase a class tree to be planted in Israel in honor of Tu B’shevat, to be observed on February 9, 2009. On January 14 the Religious School’s teaching staff will participate in the third “Staff Development and Learning”. This series of on-site workshops, sponsored by METNY (the New York Region of United Syna- gogue), shows that our synagogue dues, which are paid to the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism of America, gives us the “dividend” of no-cost participation in the METNY’s new “PaRDes Yaachov Program” for a total of four on-site workshops during the school year for teacher development and learning. Beryl Kwitkin Education Director On behalf of the entire congregation, we extend our condolences to Rabbi Prouser and his family following the passing of his father, Melvin, earlier in December. A group of temple members attended the funeral in Northampton, MA., on December 14. The service was officiated by our Rabbi and was a beautiful tribute to his dad. Please make every attempt to join us for services, Friday evenings, Saturday and Sunday mornings, and particularly Saturday afternoons, to ensure that we have a minyan consis- tently. Page 6 January 2009 SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT 1 2 3 Candle Lighting 4:20 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Religious School Sisterhood meeting Board Meeting Classes resumed With Hazzan Schram 7:45 PM 7:30 PM Candle Lighting 4:27 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Ritual Committee Sisterhood meeting With Hazzan Schram 7:30 PM Candle Lighting 4:35 21 School Bd. 18 19 20 Meeting 7 PM 22 23 24 Sisterhood Committee Martin Luther King Sisterhood meeting No Rel . School With Hazzan Schram Classes 7:30 PM Candle Lighting 4:43 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Sisterhood meeting Dolad Class With Hazzan Schram Evening Service 7:30 PM Candle Lighting 4:51 Betsy Budne-Fennel, Deanne Raffel and Harriet Spivack have undertaken to provide seasonal floral arrange- ments for our sanctuary while being constrained by an austerity budget. Speaking for myself, I have found the displays, silk though they may be, to be colorful, appropriate and refreshing. They are a considerable improve- ment to the bare sanctuary that existed previously. I am grateful to this team for their creative, ongoing efforts. Truly, Joan Ross Page 7 House Committee By Lysa Lopater Big changes are coming in the synagogue! You will notice during January and February the renovations taking place in the ball- room and with the lobby lighting. In addition, we are installing light sensors for both the front and rear entrances which will enhance safety and save money at the same time...a win-win situation. I want to thank the members of my committee for all of their painstaking efforts in helping to obtain bids and samples for us to hag- gle over in choosing the decor. This has truly been a team effort! From my family to yours, have a very Happy Chanukah! Lysa Lopater VP House Committee Sisterhood by Ellen Baskin Got a case of the winter doldrums? Cabin fever? Bored watching the same old television shows? Stimulate your mind and read a book. The Sisterhood Book Review meets about every six weeks so you have plenty of time to read the book, Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin, The book is about a memoir about a Chinese male dancer who defects to the West. The book has received good re- views. Please join the Book Review for a lively and interesting discussion of the book. at our next meeting on Tuesday, February 3, 2009. We will be meeting at Elane Berk's house, 18 Birch Hill Road, Lake Success at 7:30. Please call Elane at 516-570-2611 to let her know if you are coming. The book Review is planning to read the following books for our future discussions in 2009. We have chosen a variety of genres, settings(around the world) and authors. Some of the titles and authors are Brain Wave by Shuli Mensch, Manhunt: The 12 Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson, Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky, and Women In Jerusalem by A.B. Ye- hoshua. Any other questions about the Book Review call Ellen Baskin at 516-487-6653. Special Gifts Committee By Neil Berman We acknowledge the additions to our Memorial Tablets by: Steve Aronowitz in memory of his mother, Lydia Aronowitz. Stanley Wirtheim in memory of his parents, Vera Wirtheim and Julius Wirtheim. Jane Blecher in memory of her mother, Wilma Blecher. Mel Jacknowitz in memory of his father, Samuel Jacknowitz. Toby Goldberg in memory of her mother, Beatrice Rice. We acknowledge another generous donation from Gladys Dorfler for the Yahrzeits of her beloved family members. Members interested in purchasing nameplates for the Memorial Tablets, Simcha Tree leaves, or wishing to make donations for any occasion can do so by contacting Edith at the Temple office or any of the Committee members. Neil Berman, Chairman 516 482-6672 Esther Forman 516 466-8818 Stanley Nash 718 423-0784 Gene Rattien 516 466-0490 Page 8 HAPPY JANUARY BIRTHDAY! HAPPY JANUARY ANNIVERSARY! 3 LOGAN SLAKTER 3 MOIEL & SHIRA YEGANEH 4 JEFFREY COHEN 9 PETER & EVA KESSNER 4 HEATHER MAKOVER 10 DR RONALD & MRS ADINA ROSEN 5 CARYN NAHUM 16 MORGAN & IRINA STARR 6 REBECCA KRONWITH 17 MARTIN & NANCY PHILLIPS 6 ELISABETH SHALLER 18 IRWIN & JANET TOBIN 7 MRS ROSLYN CABIN 20 DR SAMUEL & MRS RHODA FLEISHER 7 REBECCA GELFAND 28 DAVID & NATALIE KNEE 7 ADAM DYBER 29 DR GARY & MRS JAGI GECELTER 9 BENJAMIN MENCHELL 10 JOEL GROSS 11 SCOTT GOODMAN PLEASE NOTE.....There has been some confusion regarding names listed on our birthday/anniversary lists. Since short- 12 BRETT DIEBER age of printing space precludes us from listing every mem- ber’s date, we limit the list to the following people: the birth- 12 JONAH MITTLER days of all children under 23 and their siblings, birthdays of our single members, wedding anniversaries of our married 13 BROOKE FERBER members. This allows each family to be mentioned at least 14 MRS FLORENCE SCHUMACK once over the course of a year. If you have been omitted from the above, please call (718) 224-0404 or email us at 14 JAKE GINSBERG email@example.com 15 BETSY TANENBAUM 16 HARRISON DVOOR 17 ALLISON FAMULARO 17 SAMUEL ROSSIELLO 18 LEE BECKER 18 SAMANTHA BLYE 18 MAEGAN TOBACK 19 MRS PHYLLIS ALPERSTEIN BRIGHT IDEAS 19 SEAN ADWAR for LIVING 19 ROBERT FRIEDNER at your 21 BONNIE CHARLES JUDAICA SHOP 21 PETER GLASER 23 ADAM COHEN 23 JULIETTE REISS See our Display Case in the temple lobby or call the 23 MARIEL REISS temple office 718-224-0404 24 MRS GLADYS DORFLER 24 COLE JUNGER 27 MICHAEL KESTENBAUM 27 CARI RAPHAEL 28 JOSHUA TOBIAS Page 9 Sisterhood Of Little Neck Jewish Center Invites you to study with Hazzan Mordechai Schram Learn Prayers Their Meanings Their Melodies A blend of tradition and modern Get to know LNJC’s distinguished HAZZAN! Wednesdays in January 7, 14, 21, 28 7:30 P.M. Little Neck Jewish Center 49-10 Little Neck Parkway Little Neck, N.Y. 11362 718 224 -0404 Page 10 PLEASE NOTE OUR EMAIL ADDRESSES *** *** *** *** *** *** OFFICE@LNJC.ORG TEMPLETALK@LNJC.ORG RELSCHOOL@LNJC.ORG Membership Email Address List Many members have approached us requesting that we send out fliers, notices, and other items via the internet. We are attempting to compile a list of members’ e-mail addresses. Kindly forward your e-mail address to: OFFICE@LNJC.ORG Page 11 Little Neck Jewish Non-Profit Org. Center U.S. Postage PAID 49-10 Little Neck Pkwy Great Neck, NY Little Neck, NY 11362 PERMIT No. 57 718-224-0404 / 718- 225-5768 Fax Office Hours : Mon-Th 9am-2:30pm Fri 9am-1pm Joseph Prouser, Rabbi Hazzan Mordechai Schram Dr. A.B. Eckstein, Rabbi Emeritus Julian Raber, Cantor Emeritus Steve Aronowitz, President Beryl Kwitkin, Education Director We’re on the Web! LNJC.ORG TEMPLETALK@LNJC.ORG Join us for services: Sunday minyan 8:45 am (followed by breakfast) Friday evening 6:30 pm Saturday morning 9:15 am (Junior Congregation at 10:45 am) SHABBAT MINCHA Saturday mincha begins 30 minutes before Friday’s candlelighting time (Services are less formal and even more child-friendly than usual. Jr. Congregation credit IS given) 30 minute Mincha Service 45 minute “Seudah Shlishit” (light Shabbat meal with Singing!) 15 minute Evening/Havdallah service To make an addition or correction (our apologies), please call the office at 718-224-0404 or e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.