We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Rabbi Michael S. Jay as the spiritual leader of the Jewish Community Center of Long Beach Island. Since September, Rabbi Jay has lead our congregation’s Shabbat and Holiday services following the retirement of our beloved late Rabbi Emeritus, Rabbi Jacob S. Friedman Z”L.
Rabbi Jay, raised in Monsey, New York, earned his BS in Broadcast and Film from Boston University and received his Juris Doctor from Seton Hall University. He had been practicing law for about 15 years when, after beginning to study and teach Torah, he felt the irresistibly strong desire to pursue a career in the Rabbinate. Last May, Rabbi Jay received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan after studying for 7 years while also practicing law full time and functioning as the Rabbinic Intern at Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, New Jersey. In addition, he spent a year in a continuing pastoral education program at Overlook Hospital in Summit New Jersey. Rabbi Jay was a recipient of the Neubauer Fellowship and was a United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Alim Rabbinic Fellow serving as the Rabbi to Beit Rayim Synagogue in Toronto, Canada from July 2011 to June 2012. In his capacity as rabbi to the Toronto synagogue, he visited the congregation several times to officiate at various milestone services.
Rabbi Jay has guided us through many difficult times. He conducted High Holiday services with just a few weeks’ notice, conferring with Rabbi Jack and Cantor Green, and did it beautifully. He was there for Ali and the Friedman family when Rabbi Jack passed away. He officiated at the Bar/Bat Mitzvahs of two of our young people, who had been trained and guided by Rabbi Jack. He has been in contact with our members who have lost loved ones, conducted the funeral service for JCC member, Ellis Levin, and has spoken to and visited our members who are ill or facing surgery. Following Super Storm Sandy, Rabbi Jay offered pastoral assistance to our members affected by the storm and following the Newtown Massacre, comforted us with this message in the Shabbat Reminder. He has made everyone feel comfortable these last months as he led us in Shabbat worship and has spent time getting to know our members at the onegs and kiddishes following services.
Many of the congregants have had a chance to meet Rabbi Jay’s lovely wife, Sheri, a real estate attorney and certified teacher and their daughter, Samantha, a freshman at the University of Maryland. The family resides in Caldwell, NJ and will be spending Shabbat, holidays, as well as other occasions on LBI at the rabbi’s residence. We look forward to a wonderful partnership with Rabbi Jay and our congregation.