The new officers of the Jewish Community Council of Teaneck are planning a historical entertainment, probably in late spring, to celebrate the organization’s first 50 years.
The actual 50th anniversary of the group, this year, passed unmarked because of difficulties finding a date, location, and project everyone could agree on, said Reva Judas, Manny Landau, and Bruce Prince, in an interview.
"It wasn’t for lack of trying," said Judas, a member of Cong. Rinat Yisrael. She that dates are especially hard to find, given that the groups’ constituent organizations have many events of their own.
All Teaneck synagogues, except those too new to have thought about joining, belong to the council, along with various membership groups, ranging from Amit to the Jewish War Veterans to Hadassah, the council members said. Five members of its recently installed nine-member executive are Orthodox, and represent three Orthodox congregations; two are from Conservative Cong. Beth Sholom; and two are from Reform Temple Emeth.
"The challenge is to find a program not only that everyone can agree on but that is interesting," said Prince, a member of Beth Sholom. "In past, the council’s been sort of a reactive organization, though when things are moving along nicely it’s been great. The purpose of the council is liaison, communication, and harmony, so that all the groups get together."
"We couldn’t formulate a program that we felt would be appropriate," said Landau, a member of Cong. Bnai Yeshurun, about the delay in marking the anniversary. A musical entertainment was not considered, thus removing any issue of kol isha, the halachic prohibition of hearing a woman’s voice singing in a gathering of both men and women. Controversy over kol isha marred the council’s last major community-wide entertainment for Chanukah several years ago.
Prince noted that, in order to be "sensitive to all members of our community," any program involving an activity, such as dancing, that might violate the prohibition of shomer negiah, physical contact between men and women not married to each other, would also be avoided.
In the last several years, the organization’s only major event has been the annual Yom HaShoah commemoration, although over the years it has created other programs, including celebrations for Purim and Simchat Torah. The next such commemoration is scheduled for April ‘4 at Teaneck High School, with featured speaker Mila Bacher of Fair Lawn, a Holocaust survivor.
"We all share the common unfortunate experience of the Holocaust," said Landau, making this event something all can sign onto.
The 50th anniversary entertainment will be modeled on Walter Cronkite’s 1950s TV show "You Are There," said Prince. The event will likely be held at Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls, because of its wide range of facilities, said Landau.
The council is also setting up a Website and planning a youth outing to a minor league baseball game, because young people are "always key in any kind of growth," said Prince.
To volunteer for the 50th anniversary program, call individual synagogue or organization representatives to the council or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.