It was ten years ago that I first had the privilege of being an active member of the Jewish Community Council of Marine Park. It was quite a delight as I made friends while helping our community grow. Our annual Project Machal fundraiser would feed and entertain over 350 people, each of them donating generously to provide food assistance to families in need. Our father-son learning finale would draw over 500 people, with guest speakers like Rav Reuven Feinstein and the Novominsker Rav. Our legislative breakfasts were filled to capacity. They were must-attend events for politicians at every level of government. Our Sunday program for girls continues to service hundreds of local kids. At least 100 people volunteer for the annual JCCMP Pesach Food Program to help pack and deliver groceries to hundreds of needy families in our area.
I burst with pride to be part of such an amazing community. All the time, energy, and money spent to help improve the lives of our fellow Marine Park residents is well worth it. I am thankful to Shea Rubenstein for being the tireless driving force behind the Jewish Community Council of Marine Park. As I recently told him, I could not possibly do any of this on my own. It is an honor to have some small part in this incredible organization.
I then thought about all the new families that have moved here. I wonder if they are even aware of the sheer scope of what we do, and what services are available. How can I keep this all to myself, when there are hundreds of worthy individuals and families who have yet to experience that joy? Being involved in a local shul is wonderful, but attaching oneself to something larger is deeply fulfilling. In short, it’s time to share.
We can invite new people with fresh ideas and new energy to join us. With Shea’s permission, I would like to extend an invitation to you, to your families, to your friends, and to your neighbors to become involved in our organization. It really does not take much time or effort, especially because there is a dedicated office staff who manages all the details. Even if you volunteer for one event a year, you will find yourself transformed by the experience. You will meet people just like you, who also happen to live right here, and it is enjoyable.
For example, we need ideas to help get out the vote on November 6, 2018. Every vote counts. New York City spends over $85 BILLION every year. More can be directed towards improvements in our own community, if only the politicians saw an active, engaged voter base. They carefully record which demographics show up, and that helps determine policy and allocation of resources. I strongly suggest that we encourage our high schools to provide voter registration drives for their 12th graders, and for the yeshivas and seminaries to do the same. Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l in a letter dated October 3, 1984, paskened that it is a fundamental responsibility of every member of the Jewish community to vote. Doing that in every election would make candidates sit up and take notice like never before. It only takes five minutes, and the polls are open from 6 A.M until 9 P.M.
We need each other, and we can only benefit from having a strong kehilla. It is not about who belongs to this shul or that shul. We are one. I have seen it, and I want the newer families to see it too, and to get involved as I have enjoyed doing. I, therefore, would like to challenge you, dear reader, to become involved in a newly transformed JCCMP. It need not take a lot of time or money. There are so many various projects which can use your help.
I ask the Rabbanim of the shuls in Marine Park to band together and encourage their members to participate. When we started, we began with two delegates from each shul in the community to attend quarterly meetings. That is only four times a year (and we serve great food!). Let us reestablish those community meetings.
Please contact us at http://www.jccmp.org/contact to become a shul rep, or to volunteer. I look forward to meeting you!