Orthodox, non-Orthodox congregations adapting in bid
for survival, growth.
‘Creatures who adapt to their environment fly; if not, they become extinct. We are adapting and evolving.”
Rabbi Menashe Bovit, the new spiritual leader of the Conservative Bellrose Jewish Center, isn’t just referring to the survival-of-the-fittest law of the jungle. He’s also referring to the sometimes cruel, Darwin-esque nature of Jewish demographics in an ever-changing city. In this case the demographics of northeast Queens, an area on the Queens-Nassau border trying to claw back from the brink of extinction — Jewishly, that is.
Young Jewish singles and families are flocking to Astoria, Long Island City and Jackson Heights — but can the existing synagogues draw them in?
When Cara Bernstein walked down the aisle a month ago to meet her fiancé under the chupah, she knew her wedding day was a crossroads not only in her life, but in the life of her Queens synagogue, which had not hosted a bride and groom for 22 years.
Nearly the entire congregation at Astoria Center of Israel celebrated her marriage that day, whether or not they knew the couple personally.
“A fellow congregant told me that I’m part of a new wave of congregants,” said Bernstein, who is 38.