Sharing the building, but not the decision

By The Boiling Point Editorial Board

When news came that Ikar would be using our new building forTuesday afternoon Hebrew school and religious services, it was only natural to cringe. Ikar is associated with our dreadful days spent at the cramped, hot, and locker-less JCC.

Because of Ikar, Town Hall was last period, the CIJE class had trouble functioning on Tuesdays, and no student was allowed to be upstairs with Ikar there even to just quickly retrieve a binder from a classroom.

But we mainly cringed because, while it is great to share our amazing facility, it is tough to predict how much Ikar will interfere with the school. The answer could be very little. After all, Rabbi Segal said that as owners we have priority over them.

But when Ikar started moving in Sep. 1, they were extremely noticeable. They used our kitchens to kasher their pots, installed temporary speakers in the gym. There’s even talk of their getting a temporary sign in the parking lot.Then comes the concern of Ikar making a mess of the brand new building. There is more than one way 180 kids occupying most of our classrooms could go wrong.

And finally, it’s the Shalhevet community who spent so much money and time to build this magnificent edifice. Don’t we deserve to have our own space, at least for the first year?

Of course, we may just be overreacting and being selfish. Ikar is bringing in more income — perhaps enough to make a difference, through scholarships, in who can attend our school.This is also not the JCC where Ikar could prevent us from entering a classroom. As the owners, we are the ones making the rules, and we can ensure Ikar cleans up. too.

Still, we wish students, parents and the Just Community could have at least been consulted on such an important matter. It also may have been better to wait for school to settle, as Rabbi Segal had initially planned.

The opening week of school provided all types of unanticipated questions. How can SWAP and Ikar run simultaneously? Should students now lock their lockers? Is it a safety issue for so many little, adorable kids to climb up stairs while teenagers  go down? There may be answers for these particulars, but several other issues could arise as well.

Had we been consulted, most likely we would have reached the same conclusion Rabbi Segal did — that this was an opportunity to do good and make an important statement. Maybe we wouldn’t be feeling as selfish if we had a chance to think it through in advance as Rabbi Segal himself did.  It’s hard to tell if this was a good deal–which is exactly why rushing into it was a bad idea.