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pam-jenoffPress release from Congregation B’nai Israel

Novelist Pam Jenoff served as Vice Consul for the US State Department in Krakow, Poland and is an expert on Poland and the Holocaust.  On the morning of Sunday, February 28, Pam Jenoff speaks at Congregation B’nai Israel in Rumson about the role her State Department experiences played in shaping many of her novels.

Jenoff’s internationally best-selling debut novel The Kommandant’s Girl was based on actual events and was cited by Publisher’s weekly for its “luminous simplicity….”and hailed as “a breathtaking debut. “  This poignant Holocaust story – a suspenseful “page-turner” – is on the reading list of several area Book Clubs.  Jenoff’s talk will be followed by book sales and author signings.

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MLK PrinzA free screening of a documentary on Rabbi Joachim Prinz (left, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) is among the events scheduled during a weekend-long MLK Day observance, presented jointly by Monmouth Reform Temple (Tinton Falls) and Pilgrim Baptist Church (Red Bank).

Press release from Monmouth Reform Temple

Continuing a recently established tradition, Monmouth Reform Temple of Tinton Falls and Pilgrim Baptist Church of Red Bank join forces for a weekend-long slate of activities honoring the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The observance begins on Friday night, January 15 with MRT Shabbat services at 7 pm, featuring special guest Dr. Everett McCorvey, chair of the Opera Department at the University of Kentucky and Director of the National Chorale. Dr. McCorvey grew up in segregated Montgomery, AL alongside Dr. King’s children, and has risen to national prominence as a soloist, conductor, and educator.

The weekend will culminate with a noon MLK service at Pilgrim Baptist Church led by Pastor Terrence Porter on Monday, January 17 at noon. Rabbi Mark Kline and Cantor Gabrielle Clissold of MRT will participate in the service, along with a joint performance by the PBC and MRT choirs. All events are free and open to the public.

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Chorale_Group_wo_conductorThe Shrewsbury Chorale is looking to corral some new voices — and for the next two Tuesday evenings, the public is invited to join in the chorus of community.  

It’s one of those local treasures whose activity in the community extends back nearly 60 years, as the Shrewsbury Chorale prepares to embark upon its 59th season of choral classics and popular repertoire, presented in settings that have ranged from the modestly-scaled historic churches of Monmouth County to the National Cathedral in Washington, DC and Carnegie Hall.

For the next couple of Tuesdays, the community arts organization gets back to its roots, extending an invitation to all interested singers to join in a pair of open rehearsals hosted at the Chorale’s regular Tuesday evening rehearsal venue, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County in Lincroft.

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PILGRIM baptistWith the holiday interlude entered into the books for another year — and with the coming of the seasonally chilly weather that somehow skirted us during a disconcertingly mild December — it’s easy to forget that there are still numerous neighbors who are in need of a helping hand this winter, and still many ways in which to help.

Here at the start of 2016, Pilgrim Baptist Church is serving as the setting for the Annual Community Coat Drive, conducted by the grass-roots Community Collaborative Coalition of Red Bank and designed to outfit men, women and children with warm overcoats and other winter-weather wearables. From now through Sunday January 22, the church building at 172 Shrewsbury Avenue is accepting new or gently used coats of all shapes, styles and sizes, to be distributed during a “Project Community Cares Event” going on at PBC between the hours of 9 am and 2 pm on Wednesday, January 27.

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UUCMCNJThe Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse offers an opportunity for quiet reflection on New Year’s Day — and some spirited dialogue every Sunday morning thereafter.  

The resolutions that we make on New Year’s Eve may constitute some bold and fearless talk — but in the cold light of New Year’s Day, it’s not always so easy to walk that walk. Fortunately, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County offers all members of the community the opportunity to start 2016 off on a good foot or two, by “walking the labyrinth” for some moments of quiet reflection and meditation as you begin another journey around the sun with the best of intentions and hopes for the months ahead. The (temporary) labyrinth will be installed inside the Earth Room at the Unitarian Meetinghouse between the hours of 3 to 6 pm on Friday, and there will be light refreshments served up in the nearby Community Room, with all attendees invited to contribute a dessert to this free and all-welcome event.

While New Year’s Day comes and goes in a flash, the UUCMC’s Sunday Dialogs events remain a year-round happening at the West Front Street place of worship — and the long-running lecture series on timely topics will be wasting no time getting down to the matter at hand here in 2016, as the Meetinghouse welcomes guest speaker Russell Binaco to the lectern this Sunday morning, January 3.

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Black Nativity 2010A cast of some 45 actors, singers, dancers and community members brings the theatrical gospel celebration BLACK NATIVITY back to the Count Basie Theatre this Sunday, December 27, in the return of a local tradition from Dunbar Repertory Company. (Photo courtesy Richard Krauss)  

When it was first presented to Broadway audiences back in 1961, the theatrical experience known as Black Nativity was little more than a 40-page outline of a script on paper; an adaptation of the Gospel of St. Luke that was infused with the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes. In their fully fleshed form, however, the words came to life through a mix of traditional spirituals like “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” African American dance forms, colorful costumes, and an improvisatory element that encourages local clergy, schoolchildren and public officials to get into the act everywhere that Nativity has become the stuff of tradition, from Savannah, GA to Seattle, WA and numerous points between.

Beginning about the turn of the new millennium, Black Nativity became the stuff of Monmouth County tradition, when Darrell Lawrence Willis Sr. first presented its “powerful message of joy, hope, victory and liberation” at Manasquan’s landmark Algonquin Theatre, in a staging by Dunbar Repertory Company, the producer-director’s grassroots troupe dedicated to presenting the works of African American playwrights. Re-emerging at the Count Basie Theatre in 2010 (where Willis, a now-retired faculty member at Brookdale Community College, has served as a board member for ten years), the production quickly staked out a place as a year-end centerpiece of community life for performing artists and church congregations from all around Monmouth. Following a one-year hiatus, Black Nativity returns to the Basie stage this Sunday afternoon, December 27, for its fifth Red Bank appearance — a re-energized and highly anticipated extension of the Yueltide season, about which Willis found time to chat with redbankgreen.

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melton event 121815 1 melton event 121815 2Family members and friends from throughout Monmouth County gathered at Calvary Baptist Church in Red Bank Friday evening to remember slain borough teacher Jonelle Melton. Organizers also spotlighted law enforcement officials who investigated and recently charged  three men in the her 2009 slaying. Though the case is not yet closed, police and prosecutors deserved to be recognized for “keeping their word and doing something positive,” said co-organizer Linda Clark. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)



jonelle melton 111915 2Family members and friends from throughout the community will gather at Calvary Baptist Church Friday evening to remember slain Red Bank teacher Jonelle Melton.

It’s being framed by Calvary Baptist Church as “A Night to Remember” — an opportunity for both somber reflection and the season’s rejoicing, rooted in a community’s shared tragedy, but setting its sights on the star of peace and healing.

When Rev. Dr. Kenneth McGhee Jr. and the congregation of the River Street church open their doors to all members of the Red Bank community this Friday evening, the occasion will be a special pre-Christmas celebration of fellowship and Yuletide spirit — one that incorporates a tribute to Red Bank Middle School Jonelle Melton, and an expression of support for her family.

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Sea Bright United MethodistSea Bright United Methodist is the place to be this weekend for the official dedication of the relocated Sea Bright Public Library on Saturday, plus a Christmas Cantata and free community dinner on Sunday. 

Even as the people of Sea Bright got to work putting their beloved borough back together in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the loss of the town’s permanent public library continued to leave a hole in the heart of community life.

While the library’s circa-1976 J.W. Ross Cultural Arts Center building — razed amid some controversy in early 2014, as reported here on redbankgreen — sustained relatively light damage in comparison to other hard-hit neighboring structures, the decision was made to temporarily relocate rather than restore. This past summer saw the “small, friendly” Sea Bright Library open its doors inside the host walls of United Methodist Church at 1104 Ocean Avenue — and this Saturday, the borough officially cuts the ribbon, in an all-welcome event that boasts a bonus helping of seasonal cheer.

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njso chamberThe Chamber Players of the NJ Symphony Orchestra (above) come to Navesink’s Old Stone Church Sunday. Piano prodigy Michael Davidman (below) tackles keyboard classics at Red Bank’s Monmouth Conservatory.

mike davidAh, to have the ability to be in three places at once. This Sunday offers a trio of riches for Red Bank-area music lovers in the 4 p.m. hour — beginning with one that takes interactivity to the next level.

Back for a 15th edition, the annual “United We Sing” Celebration once again invites people of all faiths to lend their voices and join in an intercultural service of music, word and dance at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County on West Front Street in Lincroft.

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Press release from Congregation B’nai Israel

As the temperature drops and the nights get long, the members of Congregation B’nai Israel are getting ready for the 2015 Chanukah Festival of Lights. The Chanukah Festival, to be held at 4 pm on Sunday, December 6, will feature a community menorah lighting, dinner and lots of activities for all. This event is open to the public and great for all ages.

There will be a variety of activities for children, as well as local vendors, a Jewish book fair, and gifts for purchase from the Sisterhood Gift Shop. A delicious kosher dinner will include crispy potato latkes and traditional donuts for dessert.

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The nation of Turkey has featured prominently in recent news (as recently as yesterday, when US media editorialized that this past weekend’s election solidified the authoritarian ambitions of President Recep Erdogan, and that the regime’s tactics of intimidation and suppression cast a blow against democracy in the ally country). Stories of ethnic strife and government turmoil contrast with the country’s struggle to absorb an unprecedented influx of Syrian refugees.  How has Turkey’s Jewish minority fared during this dramatic period of upheaval in theMiddle East?

On Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 11:15 am at Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson, Professor Louis Fishman, an Assistant Professor of History at Brooklyn College, visits Congregation B’nai Israel to present a program about current events in Turkey. His topic is Turkish Jews: Between citizens and the “other.” The lecture is open to the public, and all are invited to attend the 11:15 am event.

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fh church 101615 1img_3737100809The former Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in Fair Haven, seen in an archive photo at right, was razed this week as part of a plan by Kolarsick Builders of Rumson to construct three homes on the site, at the corner of River Road and Church Street.

The steepled church, built by volunteers in 1967, had seen its congregation dwindle, and was closed in 2009.

The ashes of 45 deceased parishoners interred in the church’s memorial garden were relocated to a cemetery in the Navesink section of Middletown in April, 2014. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


rb bike 091715 4Cyclists can get a free bike lamp and helmet at the event. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

donegoodlogoRed Bank retailer Dean Ross, who spearheaded a bike lamp giveaway earlier this year, is planning to reprise the effort next month. But he needs some help.

The owner of the Doc Shoppe shoe store and Bagel Oven tells redbankgreen that he’s seeking donations of used helmets to give away at the same time.

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UUCMCNJThe Unitarian Meeting House in Lincroft is the setting  — and the Pope’s encyclical on caring for the Earth is the inspiration — when the annual Shanti Peace Lecture takes place on the afternoon of October 3.

Press release from Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought

On Saturday, October 3, The Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought (MCWRET) presents its sixteenth annual Shanti (Peace) Lecture at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County Meeting House on West Front Street.

Scheduled from 2:30 to 4 pm, the lecture’s theme is “On Care for our Common Home: Laudato Si!”, based on Pope Francis’ encyclical calling on all people to take “swift and unified action” for the environment in defense of our common home, planet Earth. Speaker Professor Antonia Malone will address the implications of Pope Francis’ message, and how we can all unite for the common good of our environment.

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