Home September 2023 Jlife Extra September 15, 2023

Jlife Extra September 15, 2023

The deep feelings surrounding Zionism that have motivated both its supporters and opponents will be discussed Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. by renowned scholar Derek J. Penslar at the annual Ruth and Alvin Rockoff Lecture presented by Rutgers University’s Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life.  The program will be held at the Douglass Student Center in New Brunswick.

Penslar, the William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History at Harvard University, is the author of “Zionism: An Emotional State,” which explores how for supporters the word connotates liberation, redemption, uniqueness and vulnerability while for opponents it brings up feelings of distaste and disgust. The book explores how the Zionist movement originated from complex feelings that varied in volume, intensity, and durability across different regions and historical moments. The resulting portrait of Zionism reconfigures the understanding of Jewish identity amid continuing debates on the role of nationalism in the modern world.

Penslar is also the Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History Emeritus at the University of Toronto and the inaugural holder of the Stanley Lewis Chair in Modern Israel Studies at Oxford University and has authored several books on Zionism. He is currently writing a global history of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

The program is free and parking is available, but an RSVP is requested at https://bildnercenter.rutgers.edu.

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The Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Monmouth County will hold its 38th annual fundraising event Thursday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park. The event will feature the comedian SARGE, an entertainer who has performed worldwide with humor appropriate for all ages. He is also a self-taught piano savant, motivational speaker and author who personalizes his humor with his own difficult struggle for success. Fundraiser attendees can sample wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres and participate in a silent auction.

SARGE was born in Miami Beach, during the Civil Rights Movement to a Jewish mother and Black father, but was adopted by upper middle class Jewish parents in Great Neck, Long Island soon after birth who sent him to top prep schools but told him little about his Black heritage. He was taken to see “The Sound of Music” on Broadway for his sixth birthday and after coming home was able to play songs from the musical by ear on the piano. However, his confusion about his background led to drug addiction and problems with alcohol and gambling and eventually homelessness. SARGE decided to quit his addiction cold turkey on Dec. 26, 1990 and has been sober ever since. He has opened for top musical acts, entertained troops in Iraq and has bought his “comedy therapy” to drug and  alcohol treatment centers. In 2017, he released his autobiographical book, “Black Boychik.”

For questions, call Gail Zapata at (732) 774-6886 x 15 or e-mail her at gailz@jfcsmonmouth.org. Tickets are  $180 per person. Forms to print and mail in with a check can be found at https://www.jfcsmonmouth.org.

Rabbi Michael Pont of the Marlboro Jewish Center will be honored by the Jewish National Fund-USA at its Sukkot celebration Thursday, Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the synagogue. Pont is a member of the JNF-USA Monmouth-Middlesex Committee who is revered for his dedication to Jewish life. The event will also celebrate the installation of Anne Kroll as the new chair of the Monmouth-Middlesex Committee and feature a strolling dinner and dessert.

Pont is a national chaplain for the Jewish War Veterans, chair of the Jersey Shore Rabbinical Assembly Cluster, a past president of the New Jersey Rabbinical Assembly, a member of the JNF’s Rabbis for Israel Society and on the board of its   Central New Jersey Chapter and is secretary of the executive board of New Hope Integrated Behavioral Health Care, an organization that helps recovering drug addicts.

Cost is $36. For more information, call Beverly Gutterman at (973) 593-0095, ext. 827 or Anna Millstein, (973) 593-0095, ext. 826 or amillstein@jnf.org or go to https://www.jnf.org/events-landing-pages/sukkot-celebration-honoring-rabbi-michael-pont.

The ROC of New Jersey has changed its name to New Jersey Chesed (kindness) and Parnossa (livelihood) Network.  The organization, which was formed three years ago during the pandemic to help the community, decided to make the change from the Raritan Valley Orthodox Jewish Community Association  to clear up confusion about what the organization does, said its founder, president and CEO Josh Pruzansky of Highland Park. The network will now be composed of several divisions each with a different mission but all with the goal of helping community members, synagogues, schools and organizations in the Raritan Valley area.

Network chair Louis Glinn said in a press release that the name “really reflects the essence of who we are. While the name is changing our core objectives will never change. We will continue to help anyone in need, regardless of circumstance. That is what chesed is all about.”

The network offers employment assistance, including help with writing resumes and interview coaching and recently sponsored a free concert, among other initiatives, and is looking to expand.

For more information go to https://www.therocnj.org or call (732) 844-9565.


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