As synagogues across the country grapple with membership and engagement challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the BACH Jewish Center has experienced unprecedented growth as new families move to the community and join the synagogue. In the past six months, synagogue membership has grown by 10-percent, a record for the 75-year-old synagogue.
The rise in membership was sparked by the hire of a new spiritual leader, Rabbi Benny Berlin, who assumed the pulpit in June 2020. Over the past several months, the new families, many young and with children, have moved to the beach community because of its lifestyle benefits, access to day schools, kosher restaurants, regional transportation, and access to Manhattan.
Since beginning his position at BACH, Rabbi Berlin and his wife, Sara, have started several new initiatives to safely engage the community despite COVID-related restrictions. Among these initiatives were launching a wide-reaching social media campaign focused on highlighting Jewish life in Long Beach and supporting small businesses in the area; performing weekly check-ins on seniors in the community to see if there is anything they need and to combat isolation; delivering welcome packages in a socially-distant manner to new members of the community; and various youth-focused events with activities and entertainment, each with significant turnouts. These efforts, along with the appealing atmosphere of Long Beach, have generated a record interest in the BACH community and have drawn new families to become members of the synagogue.
“Over the last six months, our synagogue has developed creative programming and used social media as a way to reach perspective families and individuals to show them that while we must remain physically distant, we must be socially together,” said Rabbi Benny Berlin. “We were able to reach people from all over the country who have subsequently moved into our community to join our synagogue, including people from Seattle, Venice Beach, and others. Our warm atmosphere and close proximity to New York City make us an ideal location.”
Founded in 1946, Bachurei Chemed – BACH Jewish Center is one of Long Island’s most prestigious and oldest synagogues. Members hail from Long Beach, Lido, Atlantic Beach, and Island Park. Click here for more information.