I read with great interest Stewart Ain’s article on the demographic changes taking place along the West Hempstead-Franklin Square border (“W. Hempstead Boundary Blues,” July 29) and how area congregations are being affected by and dealing with these changes. While I found the article informative, I was somewhat dismayed by the misleading and downright untrue references made with respect to the Malverne Jewish Center.
As the article correctly points out, MJC sold its building to the Bridge Church of the Nazarene last year, after general economic conditions severely affected our primary source of income. Among the terms of the sale, the congregation was granted a 10-year lease of an area of the building consisting of a chapel and a multipurpose room, which because of the diminished size of our congregation, we were using for most of our religious and social functions prior to the sale. The rent for the space, as the article indicates, is one dollar per year.
What I find particularly troubling and misleading about the article’s description of the transaction is its characterization of our space as a “basement,” leaving the connotation of a dungeon-like facility. Nothing could be further from the truth. While our space is partially below street level, it contains a charming chapel where services have been held in recent years and a room previously used for religious and social functions such as weddings and bar and bat mitzvahs. Plans are underway for a complete renovation of the space to make it an attractive, comfortable and suitable place that will reflect 21st-century décor and amenities.
Also, a statement attributed to Audrey Schneider, a former member of our congregation, that “there are only 15 or 20 diehards left,” has absolutely no basis except for perhaps wishful thinking.
The Malverne Jewish Center is open for business and plans to remain so. For those who are sensitive to our location, let me say that we are tenants in a building that happens to be owned by a religious institution other than our own. We ask those in the area to give us a shot; come see for yourself what we have to offer. I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
President Malverne Jewish Center Malverne, L.I.