EAST BRUNSWICK – Celebrating six decades of history and service to the community, the East Brunswick Jewish Center (EBJC) will hold its Diamond Jubilee 60th Anniversary Gala Brunch on June 10.
The East Brunswick Community Group was established in April 1958, but changed its name to EBJC in 1961, according to co-President Deena Oren.
“We are proud and grateful to our founding members. We are excited that we continue to be a strong presence in East Brunswick with over 400 members, and we look forward to continuing that legacy in the next 60 years,” Oren said.
In 1957, Dorie Mandel and Bea Hess were faced with a dilemma: they said they desperately needed more Mahjong players. Mandel and Hess were successful in enticing a group of players and soon the group took up other social activities. Shortly after, someone voiced concern that there was a need for a local Jewish group, according to information provided by the EBJC.
Mel and Bea Rosenhack held a meeting in their home to determine if there actually was a need to form such a group. Bea Rosenhack expected 20 guests. She was “dumbfounded and flat-footed” when 40 people showed up. The group planned to convene next at the AmVets Hall in East Brunswick. Thus, the seeds were sown for the organization that would evolve into the EBJC, according to information provided by the organization.
Current residents who are founding members are Rosalyn Zell, Isadora Gelb, Gloria Silverstein, Elaine Feldbaum, Merle Lipman and Bea Hess, according to Oren.
By early 1959, links to synagogues in Highland Park, the hiring of a temporary rabbi, the formation of a constitution and regular meetings in the Grange Hall led to the first bar mitzvah with the synagogue’s first Torah on Jan. 27, 1962.
Oren said the EBJC is foremost a place of worship as a member of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
According to Oren, the center offers programs for people of all ages, including Jewish education; the Center for Early Learning; pre-kindergarten; the Hazak program for people age 55 and over; lectures; performances with Jewish content; art history; social action in collaboration with other houses of worship in town; adult education; and social activities for all ages and the community, members and non-members alike.
The East Brunswick Jewish Center offers youth groups such as Kadima and United Synagogue Youth to appeal to young children and teenagers.
“We put on musical performances, lectures and political debates with both sides appearing to present their platforms. We host and raise funds for other Jewish organizations. We offer social activities. … We host blood drives to help support local hospitals and we brought a genetic testing program to the community and discussed the importance of it,” Oren said.
The gala brunch will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 10 at the EBJC, 511 Ryders Lane, East Brunswick. The cost is $60 per person. To attend, place an ad or include well wishes in the journal, contact Ellen Botwin at 732-257-7070 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the EBJC, visit www.ebjc.org.
Contact Vashti Harris at email@example.com.