TBAY In The News

April 30th, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in TBAY in The News

LAST UPDATED: October 31, 2010

Sale of Temple Israel Building – Dealing with the fallout…

Shalom to all:

I applaud the lay leadership of our congregation as they struggle to carry us through difficult times, including the process of selling the assets of the former Temple Israel. What remains distressing is the personal attacks levied against us by some, whose hurt and anger seemingly overwhelms the concepts of good and just. Below appears an email received from one such family, and since they did not respond to my offer to meet with them directly, nor to my statement that I intend to share their email to the congregation, hence this email.

I can certainly understand the pain and angst that many must feel, I have the utmost empathy for each, and I am appreciative of the many calls, emails and direct comments of a supportive nature that I have received.

 

My apologies for burdening you with yet another email on this topic, but I feel it is my responsibility to keep you inform.

Rabbi Mark Mallach,

Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael

 

A. The email received:

So, Rabbi Mallach, you received a fruit basket from the new Muslim owners of our beloved Temple Israel.

How lovely. I wonder( along with all of our former Temple Israel congregants and all of Temple Beth Ahm )

why you did not make this known during the Holidays? After all, the papers were signed on Sept. 22nd to bring the mosque to our Temple. Is it possible you knew the reaction you would receive would be one of outrage and disgust? You and your committee have fulfilled the worst stereotype associated with Jews of avarice and greed.

Our beloved synagogue cost you nothing with 40 older families coming to Beth Ahm. Rather than consider the feelings of those torn away from an adored Rabbi and synagogue that stood for 50 years, with all of your wisdom, you betrayed us all. We are sickened by this move. We are withdrawing immediately from Beth Ahm. Hope you enjoy your “big step forward to building bonds” Shame on you and anyone else connected with this decision.

 

Janet and Gil Jacobs

 

B. Rabbi Mallach’s Response:

 

Dear Janet & Jill:

 

I left you a voice message Wednesday; I do hope you received it. It was a 2-part message:

a) to wish Janet a very happy birthday

b) to express my desire to meet with you both face to face to discuss your email.

 

Since I have not yet heard back from you, I do want to respond to your email. I see how upset you feel from what you have written, and I am sorry that you feel that way; I do feel a responsibility to reply. In addition, you made statements that seem to reflect misinformation and strong accusations.

 

First, I do want to take a teaching moment that deals with the concept of the HET of Dibbur Peh – the sin of speech. This a category of sins that involve the words that we share that dwell in the realm of gossip, slander, maliciousness and the like, all of which are sins that we stand up for on Yom Kippur and communally ask God to forgive us. And, I’m sure such teachings were oft express by the respected, venerable Rabbi Korbman to his congregation.

 

Second, our temple president, David Glass, had hoped to be able to share with the entire congregation on Rosh HaShanah, or at least on Yom Kippur that the sale of the building had been completed with the closing of the real estate transaction. You state, “after all, the papers were signed on Sept. 22nd;” please note that this was the closing date and it took place after Yom Kippur. We had hoped the closing would have taken place by the end of August or at least the first week of September, before Rosh Hashanah. However, as it oft happens, there are delays, in this case in getting approval from the Union Fire Department to issue the Certificate of Occupancy, which required more work by us to satisfy the FD and at a significant expense. If the closing had taken place, then the entire congregation would have heard about on the High Holy Days. Caution prevailed because every other offer that was proffered for the building had fallen through. In addition, none of the transaction was done in any secretive manner, the offer from the ICUC was made in April, 2010 and reported to the Board and every step and aspect of the transaction was made with Board approval as required by our By-Laws, and all Board meetings are open to all to attend (with the exception of personnel issues which are done in closed sessions at the end of a meeting).

 

Third, you state, “fulfilled the worst stereotype associated with Jews of avarice and greed;” again, I am concerned of one falling under the spectra of sin of Dibbur Peh, but I am not to judge, there is only 1 Judge. To be clear, promises were made to the members of both congregations as a condition of the merger, which both congregations voted on and approved. Yes, I know that the former members of Temple Israel would have preferred to maintain the congregation, but the reality of changing demographics in the greater Jewish community no longer made that feasible. At least the entity that was TI can continue under the new banner of Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael. As to the promises:

 

To members of TI: among many things, it was agreed that certain physical modifications would be made to TBA to house items from TI such as: expanding the Holy Ark to include a row to house several of the Sefrei Torah from TI, expansion of the Yahrzeit Boards to accommodate TI Yahrzeit plaques, art work of significance such as the needle points made by TI’s Sisterhood and many others including plaques of past presidents of TI and its auxiliary organizations, finding a means to maintain and display the TI stained classed windows, and to rescue the wood and ornaments from the TI sanctuary Ark (note: the Ark used in the parallel service!), and more.

 

To members of TBA: the merger would allow TBA to sell the assets of TI: temple building and parsonage home, which would then be applied to pay down TBA’s mortgage debt

Now, none of the above promises could be fulfilled without the sale of the assets. Indeed, some of the initial promises to TI were done only be using our line of credit, which was also used to maintain the TI building (heat, cooling, minimum illumination, lawn-care, water, etc). This amounted to a sum in 6 figures!

 

Forth, you state, “our beloved synagogue cost you nothing with 40 older families coming.” Do note that the number of families merged into TBA were over 3 times the number you state, and not all were “older” but included families with children still needing a religious school education. And, as indicated above, there were large ongoing costs to maintain the TI building and the parsonage home until each was sold (including required repairs to make each saleable), the cost of fulfilling at least part of the promises made to TI, and there is a base cost to maintain on our roster each and EVERY member of TBAY which includes materials, labor and hefty dues to USCJ, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

 

Fifth, you state, “rather than consider the feelings of those torn away;” please understand that the feelings and opinions of those from TI were and always are under consideration, and a fair representation of the former leadership of TI were given Board positions at TBAY and have taken on an active role. In addition, TBA did not tear anyone away from TI, it was TI that came to us to seek a merger and after a great and lengthy discussion, TBA agreed and granted terms of the merger that awarded membership at a rate of 7 times less than members of TBA pay for dues!

 

Last, I would ask you, would you be less sickened if the building was sold to a Christian, Hindu or other denominational group? This is America, a land where your religious freedom is guaranteed. I have been told by many who participated in building the first synagogues in towns such as Hillside, Irvington, Union and others, and this includes TI, that such attempts were met by anti-Semitic efforts to block them!

 

I regret your decision to resign. If you intend to do so, please formally notify our Executive Director, Shiri Haines, in writing, of your decision. As rabbi, I have always endeavored to be there for my congregants for their every pastoral and spiritual need. I am not being sycophantic to state that I serve each and every one of our members no matter if they came to us from a merger or any other path, and I am confident that if you speak to any member of TBAY that came to us from the merger with TI, you will find this is true, will remain true to the best of my ability, and would remain true to the 2 of you and your family. I encourage you to remain part of our congregational family and strive together to build an ever more sacred community.

 

Furthermore, since I feel your letter speaks to many important concerns, there is a relevant need to share it and my response with the congregational ListServ, which I intend to do.

 

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Mark Mallach

 

Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael

60 Temple Drive

Springfield, NJ 07081

(973) 376-0539 x 15

Fax: (973) 376-5478

Cell: (908) 803-4777

“Tears may linger for a night, but joy comes with the dawn.” (Psalm 30:6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sale of former N.J. synagogue leads to first Islamic center in Union County

Published: Tuesday, October 26, 2010, 7:10 AM

Bob Considine/The Star-Ledger

 

Jerry McCrea/The Star-Ledger

View of the new Islamic Center of Union County, housed in the former Temple Israel building and property on Morris Avenue.

UNION TOWNSHIP (Union County) — Last week, Rabbi Mark Mallach from Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael in Springfield received a fruit basket.

The senders were members of the Islamic Center of Union County, less than three miles away in Union Township.

“It was a token to say, ‘Hi, we’re in the neighborhood,” Mallach said. “Yet, there are a few who have opposed this.”

It wasn’t the fruit that offended some in Mallach’s congregation. Some just weren’t happy to see their former synagogue be sold to a Muslim group and be converted into a mosque.

But that’s exactly what’s happening, despite a long history of strife between the two faiths.

Nearly three years ago, Temple Israel, facing dwindling membership, merged with Temple Beth Ahm to become the new Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael on Temple Drive in Springfield. That left the former synagogue — a 14,000-square-foot, split-level edifice — to be sold.

David Glass, president of Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, said the building received interest from other church groups and investors looking to turn it into office space after it went on sale in January 2008. There was even a visit from a fast-food company. Ultimately, Glass said, many suitors had difficulty securing mortgage loans.

In April, Wail Rasheed, the director of the Irvington Islamic Center in Newark, who happens to live behind the former temple in Union, saw the for-sale sign and gauged the interest of Imam El Shazley Shaban. They agreed to make an offer.

On Sept. 22, final papers were signed to bring the first mosque to Union County. While neither Glass nor Rasheed would disclose the sale price, a fund-raiser page on the Islamic Center of Union County website says the building was purchased for $1.4 million.

“This was needed to accommodate the growing Muslim community in the Union County area,” Rasheed said. “We were pleased to reach out to maintain the building as a house of worship.”

Rasheed said he has heard no negative feedback of moving operations to a former Jewish temple from the 200-plus Muslim members of the group. While day-to-day operations have commenced, an official Grand Opening, after renovations, is slated for November.

“We preach that the best way to conduct civilized work is through building the bridges not causing gaps,” he said.

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The negative reaction from members and former members of Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Mallach says, has been “very limited, but vocal,” which both he and Glass have found troubling. Mallach said one person — a former Temple Israel member who did not join the merger with Temple Beth Ahm — has derided current temple leaders for selling to people who “hate the Jews.” Another individual, who did come over in the merger, also voiced displeasure.

Mallach said he has found such behavior as “contrary to our Jewish tradition and system of beliefs and, actually, sinful.”

“We are a people who have faced discrimination and prejudice when we wanted to move into a community and establish a synagogue,” Mallach said. “Those fights still go on.”

Glass, a high school history teacher and U.S. Navy veteran who served in the Gulf War and worked in the United States’ involvement in the Iran-Iraq conflict, describes negative feelings against Muslims as “baffling.”

“I was in Bahrain for a year,” he said. “The people there have lives just like you and me. They go shopping. They take their kids to after-school activities. They have vacations. They have fundamentalists, but everyone has fundamentalists.”

Recent social efforts have been made to fill the chasm separating Muslim and Jewish people. In 2008, the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding organized 50 pairings Jewish-Islamic interfaith outreach around the country. Last year, the “twinning weekends” increased to 110 and this November it should be around the same, including 10 in New Jersey, according to Walter Ruby, Muslim-Jewish Relations Officer for the FFEU.

“What it says to me is this perception that we’re somehow at each other’s throats or the whole wave of anti-Muslim feeling that’s been out there in the media, isn’t always impacting on Muslim-Jewish relations here in the northeast and in New Jersey,” Ruby said. “With stories like this, you see Muslims and Jews wanting to reach out to each other.”

Mallach said he is intent on increasing relations between Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael and the Islamic Center of Union County as a “big step forward to building bonds.” Late last week, he mailed an invitation to Imam El Shazley Shaban for an annual pre-Thanksgiving interfaith service. And for those refuse tolerance or acceptance, Mallach offered a reality he hopes as some comfort.

“The bottom line is God is going to be served in that building,” he said.

 

© 2010 NJ.com. All rights reserved.

Yom HaShoah 5771

April 29th, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Rosh Hashanah 5771

Yom HaShoah 5771[1]

Shabbat Shalom. In this year’s Academy Award-winning best picture, The King’s Speech, the story of the stutter king, George VI, and his unconventional speech therapist, Lionel Logue, there is a pivotal scene late in the film.  Logue deliberately provokes the King to anger, leading the king to overcome his insecurity. In anger, the king shouts: “I have a voice!”

            Deeply satisfied at the reaction he has stirred, Logue responds: “Yes, you do.”

            If we were to characterize the last half-century of Jewish history, we could say that that this was the time that we told the world that we too have a voice.

            This month marked the 50th anniversary of a watershed event in modern Jewish history: April 11, 1961, the Adolph Eichmann trial began.

            Gideon Hausner, Israel’s Attorney General at that time, whose legal experience was commercial, and who had no courtroom experience, took upon himself the role of prosecutor. His opening statement set the tone for what was to follow: “As I stand here before you, Shoftei Yisrael, Judges of Israel, to lead the prosecution of Adolf Eichmann, I do not stand alone. With me …stand six million accusers. But they cannot rise to their feet and point an accusing finger …For their ashes were piled up in the hills of Auschwitz and in the fields of Treblinka, or washed away by the rivers of Poland; their graves are scattered over the length and breadth of Europe. Their blood cries out, but their voices are not heard. Therefore it falls to me to be their spokesman and to unfold in their name the awesome indictment.”[2]

            Hausner, with some justification, was criticized throughout the trial by legal experts, and by the judges themselves, for stepping beyond the facts of the case, and introducing into evidence testimony that had nothing to do with Eichmann’s specific role in the Holocaust. But Hausner, and all who were involved in determining the shape of the trial, understood that they had a greater responsibility… that of giving, for the very first time, a voice to the survivors. Hausner understood that it was not the specific case against Eichmann alone, but rather, the larger story of horrors experienced by European Jewry that would transfix the Jewish people, and an even-greater world-wide non- Jewish audience as well. It was the Eichmann trial 50 years ago that told survivors of the Shoah: “You have a voice. The world must hear. You must speak out and tell your stories. You can no longer be silenced.”

            It was at the Eichmann trial that more than a hundred survivors of the Shoah stood up and proclaimed to a stunned audience, both Jewish and gentile, that “we have a voice.” It was a voice that before had been largely stilled, but which now shook much of western civilization to its core. Victims were no longer faceless, many now had names attached to them, and horrors that many had wanted to deny or ignore were now laid bare in excruciating detail.

            But the survivors’ testimonies did something else for the Jewish people. Not only did it set the record straight, as to what had happened to the Six Million, and as to what sufferings the survivors had endured. Not only was it informative, it was transformative as well. The courage of the survivors in finding the wherewithal to share their harrowing stories signaled to Jews everywhere the need to eschew silence, to abandon the fear of making waves, and the need, when necessary, to demonstrate that we have a voice, a voice that would be heard, a voice that would make a difference in the world.

            The survivors’ testimony fifty years ago in Jerusalem broke that silence. Their courage, and the courage of the many survivors after them who followed their example, including those from our congregation, and many who were with us, but sadly, no longer – who told their stories to whomever would listen, and who, often, after each retelling of those events that had destroyed their families, their communities, their childhood – would need days to recover from the resurfacing pain – their courage reminded and continues to remind each and every one of us that, for Jews, silence is no not an option. Each survivor who spoke told the world: “I have a voice. I will use that voice to insure that what we endured and those we lost will never be forgotten.”

            Yes, we have a voice. We are outspoken in our advocacy of Israel and our national leaders have responded beyond what previous generations could have imagined, in supporting Israel’s needs and Israel’s cause. The disinterest of politicians decades ago towards causes close to Jewish hearts have been replaced by sensitivity and concern towards, and identification with the needs of Jewish communities world-wide. The simple fact that a Passover Seder is conducted in the White House is not merely politically motivated, but also reflects a response to the Jewish voice of these times, a voice that has helped transform us into a force with which to be reckoned, our small numbers notwithstanding.

            We have a voice, influenced by the generations that preceded us. We have a voice that reminds us of our power to influence our communities and our world for good: Shema Kolaynu Ahdonai Elohaynu –  We ask the Almighty to hear our voice as we rise to recite the Ehl Maley Rahamin in memory of victims of the Shoah – p. 196.


[1] Based on Rabbi Philip Scheim

[2] Deborah E. Lipstadt, The Eichmann Trial, Nextbook, 2011

Shabbat Preview

April 28th, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Shabbat Preview

Thursday, April 29, 2011 – 24 Nisan 5771           

Preview for Shabbat Kedoshim

 

Nestler Shiva Minyan Update – PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGES:

  1. Saturday night, April 30th, 8:30 PM & Sunday &Monday, May 1st & 2nd, 8 PM at the home of Susan & Jerry Wohlgemuth – 990 Chimney Ridge Drive, Spgfld
  2. Tuesday, May 3rd, 8 PM at the home of Barbara Nestler – 10 Smith Manor Blvd Unit 602, W.O.
  3. Wendesday, May 4th, 8 PM at the home of Gary Nestler & Anna Winderbaum – 600 Columbus Ave Apt. 13E, NY, NY

MINYAN ASSURANCE NEEDED

Saturday, April 30th, 7:42 PM in the Chapel

Your help to assure a minyan this Saturday afternoon/evening at the Temple in commemoration of Yom HaShoah and for the Yahrzeit of the mother of Jacob Cohen

 

TBAY Yom HaShoah Commemoration

  Jewish Veterans and the Liberation of the Concentration Camps. Presented by Mort Beroza of the National Museum of American Jewish Military History.

When: Sunday May 1, 2011, 11am.
Where:
http://www.templebethahm.com/

American Jewish soldiers were a major part of the armed forces who liberated the concentration camps in World War 2. Through a series of videos and photographic posters taken by American GI’s, Mr. Beroza will tell the dramatic story of how they were involved in freeing the victims of the camps.

Our traditional Shoah Candle Lighting ceremony will also take place.
In addition, we will gather at the end in the Holocaust Memorial Garden for the recitation of the Ehl Maley & Mourners’ Kaddish.
_______________________________________________________________

 

JEWISH HERITAGE TOUR OF EUROPE

Led by Rabbi Mark & Genya Mallach

October 23 – November 3, 2011

For more information, contact Barry Segal: SegalIrisBar@comcast.net

NEXT POTENTIAL CONGREGATIONAL ISRAEL TOUR

There have been inquiries about the next potential congregation Israel tour, such an event depends on several factors:

1. When? Possible time-frames: February or March, 2012, Summer 2012

2. Having a nucleus of participants to make it viable – 20 adult minimum

3. Having a chairman to organize

If anyone is interested, please let me know and we can discuss the possibilities

 

UPCOMING EVENT REMINDERS:

  1. Sunday, May 1st:
    1. 8:55 AM: Morning Minyan
    2. 9 AM: Religious School
    3. 11 AM: Temple Yom HaShoah Commemoration
    4.  
  2. Sunday, May 8th,  7 PM: Community Yom HaZikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day) Commemoration, JCC – West Orange
  3. Tuesday, May 10th, 4 – 9 PM: Community Yom Ha`Atzamut (Israel’s Independance Day) Celebration, Aidekman Campus, JFMW, Whippany, NJ
  4. Wednesday, May 11th, 7:45 PM: Adult Bar/t Mitzvah Class – Exploratory Meeting with Rabbi Mallach – interested?  Join us to see what it involves
  5. Sunday, May 22nd, 5 PM: “A Very Special Evening”
  6. Friday, June 10th:
    1. 6:30 PM: President’s Dinner for Installation Shabbat – RSVP to: office@templebethahmyisrael.com
    2. 8:00 PM:
      1. Installation Shabbat
      2. Tribute to Martin Shindler, may his memory be for a blessing, a TBAY past-president

 

You can also visit my website at: http://ridinrebbe.com/

 For updated information go to: http://www.tbaynj.org/

II.    April 29, 2011 – 25 Nisan: Shabbat Kedoshim

  1. Candle Lighting Time: 7:32 PM
  1. 8 PM: Shabbat services
  2. Bima Officers Scheduled: Julie Powell & David Green
  3. Kiddush Soloist: Cantor
  4. E.      Sermon Theme: in commemoration of Yom HaShoah – 50th Anniversary of the Eichmann Trial
  5. L`kavod Shabbat - Special Honors
    1. Responsive Readings:
    2. Open Ark for Aleinu:
    3. Oneg Shabbat: Sponsored by the Women’s League

 

II.      Saturday, April 30, 2011 – 26 Nisan: Shabbat Kedoshim

     

A.            9:30 AM: Shaharit L`Shabbat in the Sanctuary:

1.      Shabbat Coordinator: Steve Klinghoffer

2.      Baal Tefillah Preliminary Service (Prayer Leader): Larry Horwitz

3.      Baal Tefillah Shaharit: Cantor

4.      Dvar Torah: Rabbi

      5.      Baalai Koreh (Torah Readers): Ken Melman

6.      Baal Maftir (Haftorah Reader):  

7.      Gabbayim (Torah Proctors): ?

8.      Baal Tefillah Musaf: Cantor

9.      Special Aliyot

  1. Congregational Aliyah:

IF YOU WOULD LIKE AN ALIYAH, PLEASE LET US KNOW!!!!!

  1. B`nai Mitzvah Anniversary Aliyah:

 

  1. Bima Officers Scheduled: Julie Powell & David Green
  2. The Kiddush luncheon following services is anonymously sponsored by individual in honor of their birthday

 

B. 10:30 AM: Youth Services are in session

1.         Grades 4 – 6 are in the Chapel  

2.         Mini-Minyan, grades K – 3 are in classroom # 2

            3.         10:30 AM: TOT SHABBAT – Is IN session – in room #1

Next Shabbat: Shabbat Emor  & the Bat Mitzvah of Alyssa Wendolowski

 

Shabbat Shalom