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rumson, nj, rabbi dov goldberg, congregation b'nai israelRabbi Dov Goldberg addressing the at Congregation B’Nai Israel Monday night. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


rumson, nj, congregation b'nai israel Pain and insecurity were in the air as hundreds of Jews and non-Jewish supporters packed temples in Rumson and Tinton Falls Monday night to mourn the killing of 11 worshippers in a Pittsburgh synagogue two days earlier.


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Press release from Congregation B’nai Israel

On Sunday, January 8, Congregation B’nai Israel will host a “PJ Library” event for children in Pre-K through Grade 2 and their parents, in which participants will create a personal story book, view Jewish children’s videos, explore Jewish songs and enjoy refreshments, all at no cost.

Scheduled from 10 to 11:30 a.m., the program will include an adult discussion on building a Jewish home library. Guests will also have the opportunity to register for the monthly Jewish book or music CD that PJ Library provides for free.

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The trailer for “The Sturgeon Queens,” a PBS documentary about Russ & Daughters released in 2014.

morsels smallWith luck, the Greater Red Bank Green will have a new, authentic Jewish deli by Thanksgiving, as reported last week by redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

Meantime, folks salivating for the arrival of Shapiro’s New York Style Delicatessen in Red Bank — or mourning the pending demise of New York’s Carnegie Deli —can nosh for an hour or two on the memories and insights of a counterman whose family knows from lox and herring.

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Avraham NeguisePress release from Congregation B’nai Israel

In celebration of Israel Independence Day, Congregation B’nai Israel will host a special guest speaker on the evening of Thursday, May 12. The 7 p.m. event will feature Dr. Avraham Neguise on the topic of “Israel Today: My Story, Our Mission.”

Born in Ethiopia, Dr. Neguise was elected to the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) in 2015, where he continues his mission of championing diversity and education.  He will provide a political update on events in Israel and changes in Israeli society.

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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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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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Above&BeyondCongregation B’nai Israel’s “Lunch and a Movie” series continues on Thursday, August 13, with a screening of producer Nancy Spielberg’s documentary feature ABOVE AND BEYOND.

Press release from Congreagtion B’Nai Israel

Would you risk everything…your future, your citizenship, even your life…to help a brother in need?

In 1948, just three years after the liberation of the Nazi death camps, a group of Jewish American pilots answered a call for help. In secret and at great personal risk, they smuggled planes out of the U.S., trained behind the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia, and flew for Israel in its War of Independence. As members of Machal (“volunteers from abroad”), this ragtag band of brothers not only turned the tide of the war; they also embarked on personal journeys of discovery and renewed Jewish pride.

Directed by Roberta Grossman and produced by Nancy Spielberg — sister of Academy Award winning producer-director Steven Spielberg, whose many modern classics include Schindler’s List — the documentary feature Above and Beyond tells their story. On Thursday, August 13 at 11:30 am, Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) will screen the film as the latest in its series of “Lunch and a Movie” events.

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Father_Shecker_&_Rabbi_SultarFather Bob Shecker and Rabbi Jeff Sultar join for an interfaith discussion on “The Garden of Eden – Then and Now,” on the evening of May 20.

Press release from The Church of the Nativity, Fair Haven

On Wednesday, May 20, Father Robert Shecker of the Church of the Nativity in Fair Haven will team up with Rabbi Jeff Sultar of Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson for a special interfaith discussion on the topic of the Garden of Eden – Then and Now.

Hosted at Nativity Parish Hall (180 Ridge Road) and open to all members of the community, the 7:30 pm program is free to attend, with refreshments and a public talk session to follow.

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Press release from Congregation B’Nai Israel

On Saturday, April 25, Congregation B’nai Israel in Rumson will be hosting a gala dinner dance to honor congregants and raise essential funds for the synagogue. The 7:30 pm Bene Fete will include cocktails, dinner, dancing, a silent auction and a raffle, and all those who want to help raise funds for the synagogue and pay tribute to the honorees are invited to attend.

“The honorees are Gloria and Gene Landy, Jody Woolley, Anne and David Zack and Stacey Rassas Klinge,” explained Harriet Straus, co-chair of the Bene Fete.  “We wanted to honor members of our community, past, present and future.  All of these honorees have contributed greatly to our synagogue by taking on leadership or fundraising positions, teaching in our schools or sitting on our Board of Trustees.”

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Press release from Congregation B’Nai Israel

In light of recent events in troubled nations around the globe, it is important to educate ourselves and our children about the horrors of genocide and remember the victims.  On Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 10:30 am, Congregation B’nai Israel will commemorate Yom HaShoah. or Holocaust Remembrance Day, with dramatized readings from Simon Wiesenthal’s book  The Sunflower.

This thought-provoking program, which will challenge the audience to define their beliefs about justice, compassion and human responsibility, is being presented by members of the Rabbi Jack M. Rosoff Hebrew High School. The event is free and people of all faiths and backgrounds are invited to attend.

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BretStephensphotoPress release from Congregation B’Nai Israel

On the morning of Sunday, May 3, Congregation B’nai Israel in Rumson welcomes the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Bret Stephens, for a discussion about Israel, Iran and Global Jihad.

Stephens, the Wall Street Journal’s foreign-affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor, is responsible for the international opinion pages of the Journal. and is a member of the paper’s editorial board. Following the 11 am lecture, Stephens will answer questions and sign his new book, America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder. Books will be available for sale.

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Press release from Congregation B’nai Israel

Carole BasriOn Tuesday, March 10, Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson will welcome guest speaker Carole Basri for a special event. A lawyer, filmmaker and expert on international relations, with a particular interest in Iraqi history, Basri will speak about the ethnic cleansing policies of the Middle East, beginning with the Jews and including the recent ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) persecution of Christians, Kurds, Yazedis and Shiite minorities. She will also show clips from her documentary films.

The 7 pm program is open to the public and refreshments will be served. Admission is free for members of CBI, Red Bank Hadassah and chhange. The non-member fee is $5. Advance registration for the program is requested by March 5 at cbirumson.org.

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Press release from Congregation B’nai Israel

National Poetry Month is just around the corner in April, and the library committee at Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) will once again be hosting Café Pinsky 2015: The Poet Next Door, an evening of readings by local Jewish poets.

Named for Long Branch native Robert Pinsky, who served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 1997-2000, the free event will take place on Monday, April 27, 2015 at 7 pm.  In addition to poetry, the evening will feature music, light refreshments, coffee and tea. All are welcome to attend.

Published and unpublished local Jewish poets are invited to enter up to two poems each to the Library Committee by  Monday, March 30, 2015. There is no entry fee.

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DAKirchnerPress release from Congregation B’Nai Israel

“Degenerate Art” — or artwork that Hitler saw as a menace to German culture — is once again in the headlines, as looted art troves are discovered in Europe and their provenance hotly debated.  What is the history behind the headlines?  Why were some of the great artists of our time – Chagall, Klee, Kandinsky – targeted and their artwork banned?

On Sunday, January 11, art historian Vivian Gordon will visit Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson to speak on these 20th century masters and their treatment in Nazi-era Germany. The subject of a recent show at the Neue Galerie in New York City, the story of “degenerate” art also has drawn attention from the recent discovery of a huge stash of modern work found in a Munich apartment, and from the film The Monuments Men.

A specialist in European art and a lecturer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art., Vivian Gordon gives private and group tours of the Museums’s permanent collection and special exhibitions. The 11 am presentation, for which advance registration is required by Thursday, January 8, is being co-sponsored by Congregation B’nai Israel, the Red Bank Chapter of Hadassah and CHHANGE.

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hanukkahPress release from Congregation B’nai Israel

On Wednesday, December 17, bring a flashlight and your family menorah to Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson  to celebrate Chanukah, the eight day festival of light. Join local leaders Rabbi Jeff Sultar, Cantor Dov Goldberg and CBI’s SHMA Religious School children at 5 pm for festive prayers and songs as they light the large outdoor menorah on the grounds of the synagogue. The community is invited, and there is no charge to attend.

After the outdoor menorah lighting, all are invited inside for a Chanukah dinner and celebration. The dinner will begin with a group lighting as each family lights their own menorah (candles will be provided free of charge by CBI sisterhood).

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Fraidy_ReissPress release from Congregation B’Nai Israel

Fraidy Reiss was 19 years old when her family arranged for her to marry a man who turned out to be abusive. For the next 12 years, with no education and no job and a family that refused to help her, Reiss had nowhere to turn. Defying her husband and relatives she applied to and then graduated from Rutgers University, at age 32. With a degree in journalism, Reiss was hired as a reporter for the Asbury Park Press, eventually getting promoted to the paper’s elite investigative-reporting team and going on to have a career as a private investigator. With a job, money and confidence, Reiss was able to get divorced, win custody of her children and get a restraining order against her ex-husband.

On Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 10 am, Congregation B’Nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson is pleased to announce that Reiss will speak at a Breakfast Event sponsored by CBI Adult Education and Ezra committees, as well as Red Bank Hadassah. Reiss will not only speak about her inspiring personal journey but also about the organization she founded, Unchained At Last, the only non-profit in the United States that provides free legal and social services to help women of all religions leave arranged and forced marriages.

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CBI groundbreakFrom left: Michelle Martens, Joel Weissglass, Ellen Levine, Cantor Dov Goldberg, Lynn Einbinder, Rabbi Jeff Sultar, Larry Kaplan, Administrator Emilie Kovit-Meyer, CBI President Francine Semaya, Director of Gan Yeladim Suzanne Wykoff, and fundraising co-chair Tootsie Olan participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Outdoor Exploratorium at Congregation B’Nai Israel. 

Press release from Congregation B’Nai Israel

It’s called an Outdoor Exploratorium — a “part playground, part classroom” environment that Congregation B’nai Israel president Fran Semaya explains “will replace the existing playground and be the centerpiece of a revitalized outdoor space for the young children in our community.”

On Tuesday, June 10, CBI in Rumson held a groundbreaking for an Clergy leaders, lay leaders, educators, administrators, board members and fundraisers all gathered to ceremoniously break ground for the new nature-based play and learning space, an asset that will be unique among schools in Monmouth County.

As project liaison Larry Kaplan states, construction for the Exploratorium will begin this week, and while the project will be built in several phases, the initial phase should be finished in time for the summer camp session at CBI’s Gan Yeladim Early Learning Center. Gan families, members, friends, and business associates of CBI funded the project.

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nigel-savagePress release from Congregation B’nai Israel

There is a growing interest in the integration of Jewish traditions and values with education about food and the environment — and on Sunday, April 6,  Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson will host one of the most important thinkers on Judaism and the environment.

Nigel Savage, founder and Executive Director of Hazon, will lead a 9 am discussion about the relationship between Jewish texts and practices and the food we eat. Following his presentation, the audience will be invited to participate in small group discussions, facilitated by Savage, about the topic of sustainability as it relates to Judaism. Free and open to the public, the program will be followed by a kosher, organic, farm-to-table brunch.

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carol_rittnerPress release from Congregation B’nai Israel

Jewish-Catholic relations, from Pope John XXIII to Pope Francis I, will be the topic on Wednesday, April 2, when Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson hosts guest speaker Dr. Carol Rittner, a Catholic nun and a Distinguished Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

The 7 pm lecture, which is co-sponsored by CBI, the Church of the Nativity of Fair Haven (Nativity) and the Center for Holocaust Human Rights & Genocide Education (CHHANGE) in Lincroft, will include comments from Reverend Robert J.W. Schecker, Pastor of Nativity, and Rabbi Jeff Sultar, spiritual leader of CBI.

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MusicManGroup_718x370The cast of THE MUSIC MAN brings the Broadway evergreen to ‘Two River City’ for five concert-style performances this weekend. Below, Jersey music Jedi master Glen Burtnik leads an all-Shore team of guests to the Basie stage on Saturday, for a SUMMER OF LOVE salute to the sounds of the original Woodstock festival. (Above photo courtesy NJPAC)

Friday, March 14:

glenburtnik-4-kurdzukjpg-907ec69606a7eef9RED BANK: “Seventy Six Trombones.” “Marian the Librarian.” “Til There Was You.” “Ya Got Trouble” (right here in River City). If you’ve seen but one golden-age Broadway classic performed by a class of drama-club kids, a community of earnest amateurs or a summer-stock touring troupe, it was probably The Music Man, the 1957 Tony winner in which traveling con man Professor Harold Hill brings an outlandish scheme — and, in the process, a healthy dose of life, love, laughter and music — to the stodgy folk of a circa-1912 Iowa small town. What you probably haven’t seen is a Music Man brought to you by an African American cast and director — and this weekend, Two River Theater Company offers up five chances to catch a talent-packed production that’s being presented in cahoots with Newark’s NJ Performing Arts Center.

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PurimPress release from Congregation B’nai Israel

It’s been called “the most enjoyable of all Jewish holidays” — and this March, Congregation B’nai Israel in Rumson is inviting all family, friends and neighbors to “put on a costume or mask, grab a noisemaker, and head to CBI to join in the Purim fun. ”

A festival recorded in the biblical book of Esther, Purim commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people living in the ancient Persian Empire from a plot by Haman, an evil ruler, to destroy them.

On Saturday evening, March 15 at 7:30 pm, Rabbi Jeff Sultar and Cantor Dov Goldberg will be leading a full Purim Service and Megillah Reading. Rabbi Sultar explained, “everyone is welcome to come to this service…and being Purim, it will feature costumes and silliness but it will not specifically be a family service.”

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