By Joey Macellaro
Houses of worship on Fire Island face a unique set of challenges. Whether or not we live here year round, for the summer season, or for a few days, we Fire Islanders can have a tendency to adopt a vacation mentality – one in which attendance at religious services may be of lesser importance than if we spent time further from the beach. Additionally, as in the case of the synagogue and Protestant church serving the Ocean Beach area, our houses of worship must serve the needs of members from a broad array of denominations.
The Fire Island Synagogue was founded in Seaview in 1954, with its current building opening in 1973. Rabbi Shaul Magid has led the synagogue since 1997, and Basya Schechter, an accomplished musician and composer, has served as cantor since 2012.
“We’ve had an unusually full schedule in our adult education program this year,” said Co-president Ed Schechter, with talks by the rabbi and outside speakers and a musical performance by the Andy Statman Trio on July 29. A talk by Annette Yoshiko Reed is scheduled for 10 a.m. this Sunday, Aug. 19, on her new book, “Jewish Christianity and the History of Judaism.” Services are held on Friday nights at 7 p.m. and Saturday mornings at 10 a.m.
The summer season has been a hot and busy one this year. The Ocean Beach Community Fund’s annual gala benefit dinner on Aug. 4 was a great success. (See article on page 11.) The Community Fund hosted its annual Fine Arts and Crafts Show on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 11 and 12, with dozens of artists displaying their original pieces inside the Community House instead of around the village green due to inclement weather. The event was sponsored this year by the Palms Hotel, with prizes awarded by a juried panel. Additionally, the Fund will be hosting its second outdoor movie night of the season on Friday, Aug. 17, at 8 p.m., with a showing of the 2017 film “The Greatest Showman,” inspired by the story of P. T. Barnum. The event is free of charge, but attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and water bottles. Popcorn will be served and a 50/50 raffle will be conducted.
The Community Fund will be hosting a poetry reading at the Free Union Church on Saturday, Aug. 18, at 8 p.m. All are welcome to attend and participate. The Fund will be presenting musical entertainment from the band NOIZ on the same evening, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., on the dock, sponsored by the Ocean Beach Fishing Club.
Speaking of the Fishing Club: Their annual children’s catch-and-release fishing contest will be held – rain or shine – on Saturday, Sept. 1, from 9 a.m. to noon, on the west dock near Maguire’s. An entrance fee of $25 covers membership in the club, a rod, bait, a T-shirt, and refreshments. Participants will be grouped into junior (ages 8 or younger) and senior (ages 9-14) groups. For more information and to register, call Woody Salvin at 917-699-8916 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fire Island School is celebrating its centennial this year, and a display of memorabilia related to its history will be shown at the Community House, from Aug. 25-31. A reception will be held at the Ocean Beach Historical Society to commemorate the milestone at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 26, with light refreshments.
Aug. 25 will be a busy summer Saturday on the beach. The annual Sandpiper Run will be held on the beach at Cottage Walk starting at 1 p.m. Four age categories – 4-5, 6-8, 9-11, and 12-14 – will be divided between girls and boys, with participation limited to the first 130 entrants. A medal and T-shirt will be provided to all, with awards given for first- through third-place winners. The first prize in each category will be a sterling silver piece from local artist Kenny Goodman. Applicants may remit the $15 entrance fee at the village office.
On the evening of the Aug. 25, the Ocean Beach Association will be hosting a bring your own beverage happy hour on the deck at the Ocean Beach Youth Group’s Windswept building on the bay, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Soft drinks and appetizers will be provided. The Free Union Church at Ocean Breeze and Midway will be hosting a reprisal of its slide show on the history of Ocean Beach and the church at 7 p.m. This year’s show includes many new slides from the collection of Stone Roberts of Seaview, whose father, the Rev. Gordon Link Roberts, served as a seasonal minister at the church beginning in 1952.
A fashion show hosted by Erin Colton of News 12 Long Island was held at The Landing on Aug. 9. “Our goal was to bring a fun event to the beach that you don’t normally see,” said The Landing owner Jon Randazzo. Clothing for the show was contributed by retailers throughout Ocean Beach, with proceeds benefitting the Ocean Beach Fire Department and Police Department. Jon credits staffers Amy Dlouhy and Lisa Livote with the show’s success.
The Ocean Beach Youth Group is offering a new program for children between the ages of 12-16, on Monday and Wednesday evenings, from 7-9 p.m. Teenswept features themed events, some including video game tournaments, and is free of charge and open to all. Registration is not required.
For those who wish to honor the memory of longtime Ocean Beach resident Les Lieber, the Jazz Foundation of America has established a fund in his name to benefit up-and-coming jazz musicians. Donations may be sent to the Foundation at 322 West 48th St., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10036, in care of the Les Lieber Fund.
There will also be a memorial for our friend and neighbor, David Appelson, on Saturday, Aug. 25, at his home in Ocean Beach, from noon to 3 p.m.
Let’s spend these next two and a half weeks making the most of our remaining time on the beach together. I value you, my faithful readers, and hope to talk soon.