Indeed, A Sad Day….
Indeed, A Sad Day....
I'm sure that the entire Rockaway community mourns the loss of Congregation Derech Emunoh, which was destroyed by fire on Tuesday, May 14 and completely demolished two days later. The Temple holds a special significance for me. I moved to the Peninsula in 1955. I lived on 67 Street, the first two-family off the Boardwalk. In 1960, my daughter was the only female ever Bat Mitzvahed at Derech Emunoh.
On the Boardwalk at 67 there was a Kosher deli and an outside movie house. Diagonally opposite the Temple there was Kogel's Hardware Store. Those were good times. There were two ice cream parlors, the "Oasis" on 68 Street and The Chalet on 69 Street. Every Wednesday night, we had fireworks. You could walk on the Boardwalk at 1:00 a.m. in the morning, without fear. There was a Knish place, where besides potato and kasha, you could buy blueberry, cherry or pineapple cheese knishes. These have now become obsolete. To reminisce further, we had a pool hall and a waffles and ice cream parlor.
Derech Emunoh has survived three or four previous fires. Due to the diligence of its president, Bob Wein, he persevered and fought many a crisis, to bring thru troubled times. This demise brings down the final curtain. Shalom!
Ironically, a second chapter of bad news is prevalent a mile away. Temple of Israel, over one hundred years old, will be gone and closed sometime in June. It has been in dire financial straits for the last few years, and has barely held its head above water. In order to pay off its debts, it has been forced to terminate.
It is a sad day in Rockaway when two religious institutions vanish within a period of a month. Farewell!