Yes, it’s (finally) summertime and the living is easy, or at least that’s how the songs portray it. I can only assume that the songwriters who wrote about summer as the lazy season were not familiar with what’s been going on at the Malverne Jewish Center, where we’ve been too busy to enjoy the easy living they’ve written about.
I’m certain that they were not aware of the vast array of programs we have planned for this summer or of our efforts to attract new members to our congregational family and get them involved in our shul. No, despite what Mr. Gershwin or DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince (talk about diversity) have said about summertime, the living will not be easy nor will we, in the words of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince, have time to sit back and unwind this summer at MJC, for Rabbi Elkodsi and the Program Committee have other plans for us.
Over the next two months leading up to Rosh Hashanah, a host of interesting, informative, and entertaining programs and events are planned for MJC and our friends from neighboring synagogues. From our monthly Shabbat dinners, one of which may take place outdoors, to a program on the music of Leonard Cohen, to a lecture series on Jerusalem from biblical times to today, to an opportunity to volunteer to use your professional experience to provide assistance to those who would benefit from such help, to maybe a movie or two, to a Shabbat afternoon schmooze and to what I believe will be the highlight event of the summer, Rabbi Elkodsi’s formal installation as our spiritual leader, planned for Sunday, August 6th. And this is only a sampling of what will take place at MJC and stand between us and easy living this summer.
Another item on our agenda for this summer or shortly thereafter is something I’ve spoken to you about before and for which the time is ripe now that Rabbi Elkodsi has agreed to remain as our spiritual leader for the long-term and we have our lease extension behind us. That is to take a look at our future as a congregation and to define our Vision of MJC in the years ahead.
We need to ask ourselves questions like: What do we want the Malverne Jewish Center to look like in the longer term? What should MJC’s Mission be as a Jewish religious institution and as a member the secular community? Should MJC be a so-called traditional shul, a place in which to daven on Shabbat and yom tovs or do we do we see ourselves playing a larger role in the community-at-large? And what should that role be? Once we answer these and similar questions, we will work on developing a deliberate and disciplined plan to achieve the goals and roles we lay out for ourselves. And finally, what are the beliefs and behaviors that should govern us and will these Values be consistent with how we see ourselves going forward?
To make this effort successful, we will need your input and active involvement. I suggest you look at this as a true opportunity to shape our shul for the future, to make certain it reflects your personal vision of what a synagogue should be and to address needs you believe are not being met. This will be your chance, so as they say, go for it.
You’ll be hearing more about this effort in the near future, but until we formally roll out the project, I encourage you, if you haven’t been doing so already, to think about the Malverne Jewish Center you’d like to see in the future. Until then, I’ve got a chaise lounge, a cold beer and some easy living awaiting me, so enjoy a safe summer and we look forward to seeing you at MJC.
Dave Feldman, President