Around the Island

Shelter Island Yacht Club celebrates at Union Chapel Aug. 16

The invitation arrived in the mail inviting all members to the Shelter Island Yacht Club Memorial Sunday, dated Aug. 7, 1941 from Commodore William H. Price:

“This is to remind you of the Annual Shelter Island Yacht Club Service at the Union Chapel this coming Sunday, Aug. 10. Members will please assemble at 10:15 a.m. on the west porch of the New Prospect Hotel. Families and house guests please be in the Union Chapel before 10:30 a.m. Your attendance is earnestly requested.”

Chairman Starr G. Cooper, Rodney C. Ward and Douglas M. Black made up the committee.

A lot has changed since then. The Yacht Club is celebrating its 135th year. The New Prospect Hotel burned to the ground on June 27, 1942, less than a year after that postcard was sent. And we’re in the middle of a pandemic.

Fortunately, some things don’t change. Union Chapel still honors the Shelter Island Yacht Club for its Memorial Sunday, this year on Aug. 16 at 10:30 am.

The interfaith service will take place outside in the shady Grove. Services will remain outdoors for the rest of the summer to protect the health of the congregation. Social distancing and face coverings are required. Please bring a chair.

Commodore Bruce Brewer, flag officers and trustees will participate in the memorial service. The Chapel bell will toll for members of the Yacht Club who passed away in the last year. The members who will be noted are: Janet Gay Hawkins, Commodore Russell P. Holmes, Elihu Inselbuch, Patricia “Patsy” Mohlere, Mae Osborn, Elizabeth Essex Pedersen, Jeff Van der Eems, Peter W. Williamson and William Winship.

Fleet Chaplain and Chairman of Union Chapel Jay Sterling will officiate at the service.

The guest preacher will be Rabbi Dan Geffen of Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor. His sermon is titled “Remembrance: A Sacred Obligation,” in which he will explore the Torah’s repeated commandments “not to forget.” He’ll expand beyond the scripture to talk (briefly) about the sacred obligation — in good times and in troubling times — to remember and honor those whom we have lost.

Linda Betjeman, Chapel organist, will be joined by Yacht Club member and guest musician Nelson Bogart, who will play trumpet. 

Rabbi Geffen was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in May, 2014, and became the rabbi of Temple Adas Israel that summer. He holds master’s degrees in Hebrew Literature and Jewish Education. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with an undergraduate degree in history. Born and raised in New York City, he attended the AJ Heschel School and the Fieldston School.

Before assuming his position at Temple Adas Israel, Rabbi Geffen served as the Rabbinic Intern for Woodlands Community Temple in White Plains and Jewish Home Lifecare of Manhattan. He lives in Sag Harbor with his wife Lu (TAI Director of Community Engagement), their daughter, Eva, and their dog, Stuart.

Musician Nelson Bogart is a summer resident of Shelter Island and has played for many Union Chapel services. He plays trumpet and guitar and is in his fourth career as a full-time composer. He was also a studio musician, lawyer and professor.

Join us on Sunday, Aug. 16 for Yacht Club Memorial Sunday outdoors in the Grove. Rain date will be Sunday, Aug. 23.