In its editorial, the Jewish Standard explored the possible motivations of the board of the Jewish Center of Teaneck in rejecting an offer by Holy Name Hospital to buy the building and instead only considering offers by Chabad of Teaneck and Yeshiva Heichal HaTorah, ultimately accepting the latter. This “shock[ed] and appall[ed]” the editorial writer. I find this incendiary language unnecessary and unfortunate.
A shul’s purpose is to provide resources of prayer and education to the community. Judaism has survived through the ages due to scholarship and education. A yeshiva, which reportedly offered 13 initiatives to strengthen the shul, is ideally poised to provide and expand the shul’s resources. The JCOT board’s responsibility is to maintain the shul in a long-term context, not just to make a good profit on a real estate deal. In exploring its options, the JCOT board acted altruistically to secure a Jewish future for the shul. Its decision will allow the shul to function into perpetuity, grow in its educational reach, and once again see its halls crowded with children and young families. I have no doubt that the shul’s former rabbis, particularly Rabbi Judah Washer and the recently deceased Rabbi David Feldman, would have endorsed the board’s decision.
The biggest threat to the Jewish community today is ignorance of its heritage. The antidote is not more money but more education and a focus on developing within our youth a love for Judaism. I congratulate JCOT on its wise decision and wish it and Yeshiva Heichal HaTorah success in its exciting new endeavor to serve the Teaneck Jewish community. While reading the editorial, I could only wonder what the writer was thinking.