While we are very gratified that The Jewish Week has finally recognized the new vitality of Jewish life in central and northeast Queens, particularly in the Flushing and Kew Gardens Hills areas, we found Hilary Larson’s characterization of non-Orthodox Jewish life in the area to be both misguided and somewhat demeaning (“Magnet In Central Queens,” Neighborhood, July 16).
While it is true that there has been a rapid growth of various Orthodox Jewish communities in the area, to brush aside the strong revival of Conservative Jewish life in Flushing and to characterize our congregants and congregations as “vestiges” or “predominantly secular,” promotes the unfortunate and grossly exaggerated stereotype of a Conservative movement in its decline. Contrary to Larson’s opinion, there is a strong and vibrant Conservative Jewish movement in Flushing and the surrounding communities of central and eastern Queens.
Both of our congregations are attracting young families who are drawn to our strong centers of Jewish learning, our full-participation services, our mitzvah and chesed programs and the wonderful Jewish area, which allows them to feel comfortable in keeping Conservative Jewish traditions. Our joint Ohr Chadash religious school attracts not only member children, but Conservative and Orthodox children of non-members.
Each of our congregations supports a daily minyan led by its members. To simply write us off as “vestiges” is wrong.
Michael D. Brofman
President, Hillcrest Jewish Center
President, Israel Center of Conservative Judaism
Rabbi Manes Kogan
Rabbi, Hillcrest Jewish Center
Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin
Rabbi, Israel Center of Conservative Judaism