By Carl Corry
In a transaction that leaders of the two groups say has built the framework for a lasting interfaith relationship, the Commack Jewish Center has been sold to the Assembly of God Church in Hicksville for about $1.85 million.
The sale, which closed last month, follows the merger of the Commack Jewish Center’s members with that of the Dix Hills Jewish Center, which has a membership of about 650 families. The center had also merged in recent years with the Suffolk Jewish Center in Deer Park.
“We were impressed with the ease of negotiations in the sale of the building and all aspects of the transaction,” Dix Hills Jewish Center Treasurer Steve Cohen said. “This was more than the purchase of a synagogue building. The relationships that were formed between the two faith communities are something we hope will continue – perhaps in the form of joint congregational events.”
Assembly of God Lead Pastor Todd Bishop said the protestant church plans to move in to the space, which is in the Town of Smithtown on Shirley Court, on Feb. 28, and that renovations have already begun. He said the church was in need of new space, with four Sunday services in Hicksville and an average weekly attendance of 550. He said the church had always envisioned expanding to multiple locations across Long Island, and this is a step in that direction.
The Commack location, which is about 25,000 square feet, not including a basement, will house the church’s offices, a children’s center called Ultra Kids that is going to be designed from scratch, Sunday activities, camps, summer activities and parents’ nights out.
“It creates a lot of opportunities for us,” Bishop said of the location, noting that the church is looking to raise $500,000 for modifications.
Bishop, 42, of Lindenhurst, said the transaction with the Dix Hills Jewish Center went “very smoothly,” and that he would like them to do some interfaith events together, perhaps for Thanksgiving.
“We felt that if we could work together on a building a transaction, why can’t we work together to better our community?”
He added: “We’re excited to be part of the local community to see how we can partner with organizations and local municipalities.”