OU Welcomes Four New Synagogues to North American Network

19 Jan 2009

The Orthodox Union recently welcomed four new synagogues to its vast network of member shuls around North America. They are: Agudath Achim Anshe Sfard, in New Orleans; Beth Zion Congregation in N. Cote Saint Luc, Quebec; Jewish Learning Center Community Synagogue in Manalapan, NJ; and the Young Israel of New Hyde Park, in New York.
The benefits that come to OU member synagogues are numerous: not only are they part of a vast network of institutions of Torah Judaism, but they receive access to OU programming, which includes NCSY (the international youth organization of the Orthodox Union) and Yachad (part of the National Jewish Council for Disabilities) events and activities, as well as the programs offered by the Pepa and Rabbi Joseph Karasick Department of Synagogue Services. Department events include the recent Executive Director’s Conference, which aimed to empower executive directors by providing them with a host of resources aimed at further enhancing their ability to administer their synagogues.

Rabbi Bini Maryles, Director of the OU Department of Synagogue Services, declared, “It is extremely beneficial for a synagogue to join the OU network, as it will have the support and resources offered by a national Jewish organization and its numerous positive programs.” Of the four new synagogues, Rabbi Maryles says, “Each synagogue brings a unique aspect to the OU network. Besides being located in four distinct locations, each represents different aspects of the Orthodox community.”

Agudath Achim Anshe Sfard in New Orleans is a small synagogue with just over 30 families and individuals in its congregation. Rabbi Maryles said, “Anshe Sfard is a classic synagogue in downtown New Orleans, looking to reestablish itself in a beautiful new facility.”

The Young Israel of New Hyde Park, which counts over 80 member families and individuals, is led by Rabbi Lawrence Teitelman. Rabbi Maryles declared, “New Hyde Park is a community on the outskirts of New York City on the Queens/Nassau County border, with homes, schools and opportunities to build a beautiful Jewish life.” The Young Israel has been offering members and community visitors vital services such as daily minyanim, classes, and an active youth program for over half a century. The synagogue is also planning to build a mikveh, and there is a community-wide eruv in effect.

Rabbi Maryles described Beth Zion Congregation as “a mainstay synagogue in Montreal with a long and prestigious history that is bridging generations. The congregation of over 700 families, led by its new rabbi, Ira Ebbin, is housed in a beautiful facility.” Rabbi Ebbin had previously served as the rabbi of the Young Israel of Stamford in Connecticut. Beth Zion was established in 1954, and besides its main sanctuary, includes a Beit Midrash, library, classrooms, and social hall. Synagogue programs include a Daf Yomi class, women’s Torah classes, and youth and family activities.

The Jewish Learning Center Community Synagogue, led by Rabbi Chaim Veshnefsky, has 20 member families and individuals, and is described by Rabbi Maryles as follows: “The Jewish Learning Center Community Synagogue was started as an adult education outreach center, and later developed from a beginners’ service into the full-fledged synagogue around its founding members.” The Center frequently sponsors stimulating lectures on topics such as marriage, parenting, and kabbalah. Rabbi Veshnefsky was instrumental in helping to construct the first community eruv, located in nearby Monmouth County.

To view each synagogue’s details, visit www.ou.org/synagogue_support/synagogues. To find out more information about the OU network of member synagogues, contact Rabbi Maryles at marylesb@ou.org or 212-613-8226.