Resident reflects on historic Rego Park Jewish Center in Queens


Today was a cool and sunny day in Queens, so I decided to do some shopping and attend to chores just in case tomorrow’s weather prediction for inclement weather became a reality. Walking along Queens Boulevard, I noticed the many changes in the neighborhood during the more than 30 years I’ve lived in Forest Hills. I thought to myself that while change is inevitable, there are also times when it can be unfamiliar and a little uncomfortable, especially as we grow older.

There are so many different restaurants and stores whose customers speak languages other than English. I said to myself, well, what’s the same? The boulevard has changed; the shops and other places are not the ones I remembered so well. Our wonderful Barnes & Noble is gone; so are the Brandon and Trylon Theatres, as well as many restaurants and shops along Austin Street that I cannot count.

And then I saw our little triangle park and my thoughts turned to my own synagogue: the Rego Park Jewish Center (RPJC), an icon in Rego Park for more than half a century! With its historic building status, this Grand Dame stands proudly at 64th Avenue and Queens Boulevard, a beacon of stability and camaraderie for the entire neighborhood. I am so proud that this beautiful house of worship welcomes not only its own faithful, but also everyone at the various programs it hosts for the community throughout the year.

Queens Rego Park Jewish Center

As with all other houses of worship, congregations have diminished. But you would never know it, if you come into RPJC. Our sanctuary is peaceful and calm, and when the sunlight throws its shadows into dusk over the beautiful and iconic, Art Deco stained-glass windows, one cannot help but feel blessed to be involved not only with the synagogue, but also with the community.

Standing proudly is this big building with its colorful artwork outside, while bustling inside with events: parents picking up their children from Hebrew School; buses getting ready to bring Senior Day Care participants back to their homes. Soon Purim will arrive and we’ll enjoy the singing, the noise and costumes of the kids and they drive away the bad Haman and we eat the yummy prune and apricot Hamantaschen. Yes change is good—sometimes—but also good is that some things do not change too much.

Have a healthy and happy week!

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