Don't Let This  Happen To You


I have two boys.  My older son is autistic and my younger son is normally developing.

We had joined Marathon Jewish Community Center, 245-37 60th Ave, Douglaston / Little Neck, NY 11362 (www.marathonjcc.org), thinking that they would be understanding people.  We were so wrong!  In 2007, the behaviors of my older son became much harder to manage.  We thought our temple membership was discontinued.  I guess with everything we had to deal with, this slipped through the cracks.  We didn't think they would be so mean-spirited about membership, either.

Two years later (in 2009), the president of Marathon Jewish Community Center in Little Neck, Queens, NY, Dr. Abe Dyzenhaus, DDS, sent us a nasty-gram demanding payment of dues for 2008 and 2009.  We were incredulous that a Jewish house of worship and "empathy" would treat others so harshly.  I'm not sure that suing needy families with an autistic child is an appropriate way to promote good will toward a shul or its rabbi, Gary Greene, but there you have it.

So in addition to having to deal with the behaviors of our son with autism, we had to deal with a lawsuit from what was supposed to be a center of compassion.  

The legal point you need to know is that such a membership is considered a perpetually renewing verbal contract.  Of course, we were unaware as to the terms of this perpetual contract.  Not paying the bill was insufficient to indicate a desire to no longer be a member.  The law is not interested that we had enough to deal with because of the behaviors of our son.  Neither was Marathon Jewish Community Center.

Don't let this happen to you.  Make sure to notify the temple, synagogue, Jewish center, shul, JCC, etc as soon as you wish to discontinue your membership.  In this way you can avoid being sued by them.  And make no mistake, you WILL be sued by them, as were we. 

As this is considered a verbal contract by law, telephone notification may be sufficient, but it is probbably wiser to notify your temple, synagogue, Jewish center, shul, etc in writing.

Good luck, and I hope you do not have to go through what I did.