Rabbi Dovid Greenblatt discusses the plans for the upcoming Long Island Synagogue and Social Hall:
5TJT: What is the purpose of Long Island Synagogue and Social Hall?
RDG: Our community is growing rapidly, b’H. More and more young families are moving into our neighborhood who will eventually need to make simchos. We need an attractive local option for our community.
In addition, our community members are traveling to halls in Brooklyn, Monsey, and Lakewood. This means more time away from our families who need us, it means more time on the road, sometimes at the end of the day when we are exhausted. It often means coming home late and not being able to start the next day as we should. It also means that sometimes we just can’t attend a simcha we would like to go to because of the distance.
5TJT: Where exactly is the new Long Island Synagogue and Social Hall going to be?
RDG: This new building will be in Inwood. We wanted a local location that would be walkable on Shabbos from many of the homes in our neighborhoods.
5TJT: What pushed you to do this project?
RDG: The Davis Memorial Fund has always worked to help families make simchos. The Mishnah that we say every morning explains that helping a kallah to marry has rewards in both worlds. My rebbe, R’ Shlomo Freifeld, zt’l, once asked why the Mishnah at the end of Ta’anis states that the two most joyous occasions for the Jewish people are Yom Kippur and the 15th of Av (when the Jewish people traditionally made shidduchim). My rebbe explained that a new couple is all about future opportunity. There are endless possibilities from this new relationship. (He explained that Yom Kippur also is an opportunity for us to change and to bring boundless opportunity to ourselves.)
For families that have more limited ability, we intend to offer specific dates with fixed-price simchos that include all the services (band, flowers, photography, etc.), as is done in some other halls. Even a fixed-price affair will be exciting! The Davis Memorial Fund, through its dedicated marriage fund, Be’er Miriam, has helped hundreds of families with wedding expenses. We feel it is a privilege to be involved in these joyous occasions.
5TJT: Please tell us a little bit more about the Be’er Miriam Marriage Fund.
RDG: Be’er Miriam was named after Miriam Tziporah Adams, a young student who died in her teenage years, and unfortunately did not have the opportunity to build her own family. Many years ago, at the request of Miriam’s family, together with Mrs. Breindel Judowitz and our local TAG high school, we started a fund that would help other families pay for their wedding expenses. A good portion of the funds that are distributed by Be’er Miriam come from the auction that is run every two years by the TAG High School students under Mrs. Judowitz’s guidance.
5TJT: What a beautiful undertaking. Are there any dedication opportunities available?
RDG: Yes, there are dedication opportunities available. We feel it is a great z’chus to be part of such a wonderful project. This is a project of the Davis Memorial Fund; whatever is “earned” in the running of this hall will be given to the families in our neighborhood that are struggling. Anyone interested in this mitzvah can contact me, Dovid Greenblatt, at the Davis Memorial Fund at 516-295-0296 or at email@example.com.
5TJT: We have all been to various halls; what will be different about this hall?
RDG: We have studied existing shuls and social halls. We have consulted with numerous world-class designers and architects to create a dramatic and exciting facility. We intend to make simchos flow easily, with many amenities for those making the simcha. We will have a host of technology that should make affairs more practical and affordable, as well as pleasant. For example, today a band will bring large speakers that are generally placed in one location. The sound volume therefore differs depending on where you are located. If you are near the speakers, it may even be intolerable. We plan to build a sound system throughout the hall that can be used by the entertainers to provide balanced and hopefully tolerable music volume. We are also looking at exciting new “video wall” technology, different types of built-in LED lighting, and built-in cameras around the structure to reduce the amount of photography that is necessary. This and more are a small taste of the features and amenities we intend to include.
5TJT: How will the building be laid out?
RDG: There will be two floors to the building. The ground floor will be a beautiful shul. Upstairs will be a large ballroom that is able to be subdivided for smaller functions. The ballroom will be larger than many of the popular halls we attend today. One of our goals is to be able to service the different stages (chuppah, smorgasbord, etc.) of a wedding without rearranging the chairs and tables.
5TJT: Where will the guests park?
RDG: There will be a designated drop-off area around the building, as well as a small amount of parking on premises for those who need. There are well over 225 parking spaces in public lots neighboring the property. There are a host of other lots that are accessible to us through attendant parking as well. We are working on creative ways to simplify parking and to offer easy access to the property.
5TJT: What about the surrounding areas—noise, parking?
RDG: The building is in a commercial location. Still, we are very sensitive to the local environment. We have worked with wonderful traffic engineers to ensure that the offsite parking will solve much of the parking and traffic challenges. We are working with expert acoustical and sound engineers to ensure any noise will be contained within the structure.
5TJT: When are you formally announcing this project?
RDG: We are making an informal announcement over Sukkos. On Sunday night of chol ha’moed Sukkos, October 8 at 8:45 p.m., the entire community is invited to a Simchas Beis Ha’Shoeivah at Yeshiva Sh’or Yoshuv that we are excited to cosponsor with the yeshiva. Entertainment will include live music with Eitan Katz and catering in the sukkah by Catering by Michael Schick. The generous corporate sponsors for the evening include Gourmet Glatt, Seasons, Emporio, Birch Event Design, and Luxe Events.