The first celebrated its grand opening last week at a gala where U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez was the Keynote Speaker.
The center was founded by Russian Jewish immigrants, and is an 18,000 square foot building on Rt. 79 in Marlboro.
The existing Monmouth Worship Center was renovated over the last 3 months, and now includes a Synagogue, classrooms and a meeting space.
300 guests attended the gala, which Menendez called a "new beginning."
“This is a new beginning to the many Russian immigrants who now have a place to practice their religious beliefs freely, without fear or hesitation. It is a place to rekindle their Jewish faith, strengthen their Jewish identity that for too long was denied in the former Soviet Union," Menendez said.
Rabbi Yossi Kanelsky of the center said the new space a place to gather for the community, and learn about their culture.
"A place where young and old can come together, a place where they are understood in their native tongue language – Russian, and a place where everyone can strengthen their connection to their heritage," he said.
Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik accepted a Community Service Award.
The 12 Russian Jewish immigrant families, many of whom came to the United State penniless, founded the Center for Jewish Life as a gift to their children and other Jews and in memory of their relatives in Russia who were persecuted for their faith in that country, according to a news release.
The following founding members recieved golden menorahs from Israel from Menendez:
- Simon and Lina Garber, Colts Neck, NJ
- Vladimir and Liuba Belkin, Holmdel, NJ
- Igor and Stella Fleyshmakher, Holmdel, NJ
- David and Larisa Klots, East Brunswick, NJ
- Boris and Irina Kripitser, Marlboro, NJ
- Igor and Lilia Maller, Marlboro, NJ
- Leonid and Jenny Nagel, Marlboro, NJ
- Igor and Irina Palatnik, Marlboro, NJ
- Gregory Roman and Marina Kharaz, Holmdel, NJ
- Mark and Alla Tsatskin, Holmdel, NJ
- Sam and Nona Valler, Marlboro, NJ
- Rufat and Yafa Yusupov, Holmdel, NJ
Marat and Simone Mesh, of Marlboro were presented with the Young Leadership Award for their support in growing the congregation and developing programs for all ages.