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.
A TRIBUTE TO GEORGE KATZ
On behalf of the JCC of LBI I want to extend our deepest condolences to the family: Herb & Karen, Barbara & Steve and all the grandchildren.
I think I have told you that George reminded me of my father – an old fashioned accountant, papers always cluttering the kitchen table and yes very stubborn and set in his ways. The only difference was that George was very witty and had some great one-liners. I don’t remember my dad every telling a joke.
I have been active in the JCC for 13 years and all that time George was our Treasurer. Since we did not have a mail box, we had a post office box on 74 th street right around the corner from George’s street and he used to pick up the mail every day. Everyone in the post office knew George. As President of the JCC, I suggested to George that perhaps the secretary should pick up the mail; he wasn’t too happy and just kept on emptying the post office box each day. I tried to beat him to the post office, l but he just would get there earlier.
George came to the JCC office every day. He would pull up in his car with the Katz license plate and come into the building brief case in hand. He would put the briefcase on the lectern and open it up to take out his black notebook with the hand written ledgers of the financial transactions of the day. And then there were the receipts he carefully wrote out for each donation to the congregation. He worried
when money did not come in in the winter and when he thought we were overextending ourselves. He treated our CDs like his own children and was one a first name basis with everyone at the bank. It was a sad day when we needed to ask George to step down as Treasurer. It was time but caring for George and knowing the pride he took in his work, we hated to do it.
The JCC is like a family, especially the office staff and active members. When it was George’s birthday, our former secretary, Bonnie, would bring in a cake to surprise him and when we were concerned about George’s health, we would call Barbara to let her know.
George lived just two blocks from my house and since I was one of the people who could sign checks, he often called to ask if he could drop by to get my signatures. He would sit at our kitchen table and tell us all kinds of stories about his war time adventures.
George’s reluctance to evacuate LBI during Irene and then Sandy is a story in itself and was so typical of him. When we heard from Barbara that George was at Southern Regional HS and she was worried about him, we were able to contact one of our members who was also evacuated there. She was able to find him, make sure he had his cell phone on and his medicine (he left it in the car worrying that someone would steal them) and to let the nurse there know the situation. Yes George was a part of our caring family,
Sandy also brought other changes for George. Last winter he lived with his children who watched over him and made sure he ate, took his meds and was occupied. But this time was also bitter-sweet. George loved his place on LBI, filled with all his model airplanes and he loved his independence. I remember the last years of my dad’s life in the apartment he went to live in at the Daughters of Miriam in Clifton. It was big change for him after living in Manhattan and I was there to “tell him what to do” – not easy for him to accept all the time. Yet, I had a chance to help him and nurture him in many of the ways he took care of me over the years.
I do not know why George gave so much of his time to the JCC and to the local AARP. Maybe – like my dad – his love for numbers was a part of his DNA – after all as Jews we early on have to know how to count to 10 to make a minyan. Or perhaps he understood the importance of having a synagogue on LBI. But for whatever reason, he was a very vital part of our synagogue life and made such a difference in the success and credibility of our congregation. He will be remembered and missed.
Rose Valentine 8/15/13
Had my father’s name.
He asked me to call him Jack,
It would never be comfortably done.
We grew close, but
Ran out of time.
He was 25 years my senior,
Accomplished and intellectual
With a sense of humor,
Loved a good joke,
But a serious side
Making him more a Moses –
Figure than man-friend.
We shared a handful of years and
A growing relationship that didn’t
Have enough seasons to mature.
I was too shy to touch,
Let alone hug.
After he was gone, as with my father,
That’s what I missed.
At the JCC we once shared.
With a renewed feeling of loss,
I was given the honor
Of holding the Torah
Before the congregation
With it’s new, royal blue cover.
It was heavy, so
I held it close feeling it press
Against my chest.
I saw inscribed in the soft fabric,
Dedicated to Rabbi Jack.
I was hugging him after all,
I could feel his weight.
He, in heaven, could feel
My arms, circling him.
We joyfully embraced.
by Richard Morgan, Member of the JCC of LBI