Having read so much misinformation in your paper regarding the recent decision by the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Center to negotiate a partnership arrangement with Yeshiva Heichal HaTorah, it is time to dispel some myths.
Firstly, while it is true that the membership of the Jewish Center is substantially reduced from its heyday of the past, it is untrue that the Center is broke. While the Center is dependent on its monthly income to pay its bills, it does meet its bills, based on substantial funds from rental and other sources of income from the various activities at the Center.
That brings us to the second myth: that the Center is dead or dying because of a lack of activity. Nothing could be further from the truth! This wonderful and very substantial building is buzzing with activities all day long every day and evening of the week. A Yeshiva high school for boys; a pre-school for little kids – Shalom Yeladim; classrooms for Sinai school and Fairleigh Dickinson University! A beautifully renovated gymnasium which is busy day and night used by young boys and girls. A refurbished swimming pool for members and various groups geared primarily for outsiders of all ages. Successful Zumba classes for adults and young people, and a complete brand new fitness center! Andâ€¦ a magnificent ballroom for bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, and various other dinner/dance occasions! Sound like an empty shell lying fallow? All this is due to the investments made by the board to generate activity and income!
Now let’s get to the myths related to the proposals the Center received for various partnership arrangements. Firstly, there were originally four–all from worthy, substantial operations looking to expand in various ways. All four called for the Jewish Center to continue its religious activities as in the past. One withdrew its proposal early in the discussion process as it deemed it would be difficult and lengthy for it to get the township approvals of its expansion plans. The other three names which have been frequently noted in your paper were all brought to the board for review and discussion for recommendation to the broader membership. I personally was an early ardent supporter of the generous Holy Name Medical Center proposal, given the substantial cash that would have been brought to the table, as well as the significant reaching out to the Jewish community that Mr. Maron and the hospital has already done towards that end. Contrary to reports published in your paper, the Holy Name proposal was reviewed and thoroughly discussed in both the expanded executive committee as well as the full Board of Trustees. It was evident early on that this proposal had significant opposition in both venues based not only that some members were uncomfortable praying in a synagogue within a building that was owned by a non-Jewish entity, but more prominently argued that under those circumstances, it would be highly unlikely to attract future members which would be a necessary for the long term survival of an already aging membership. That is what swayed me from support for the HNMC proposal. Again, contrary to inaccurate reports, the HNMC proposal was brought to the Board and the vote taken showed very limited support.
You have every right to be critical of this decision, but to imply it was not adequately considered does disservice to both the Jewish Center Board as well as to Holy Name Medical Center itself. The Jewish Center Board however has every right and responsibility to consider what is best for its own future growth!