The Changing Face of The Perrineville Jewish Center

Published on

By Susan Heckler

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Driving up to the Perrineville Jewish Center on Perrineville Road, you see a building steeped in history. In 1910, ten men began holding formal religious ceremonies, and in 1925 built the synagogue, originally known as the First Hebrew Farmer’s Association of Perrineville. The building is home to a friendly and heymish community of families from the Millstone Township area and the surrounding Manalapan, Freehold, Twin Rivers, Allentown, Upper Freehold, New Egypt and Monroe area. Membership is reasonable and affordable and now offers a host of new opportunities to the families in the area. The building remains fairly unchanged, but inside the congregation is in the process of big changes. Once an older and more observant congregation, they have become more family friendly, flexible and welcome those less observant and families of intermarriage. The values and traditions are unchanged but they have adopted a more Egalitarian view, welcoming the young ladies to participate more. Being a smaller membership than some of the other synagogues in the area, they can offer individual attention to their youth. The B’nai Mitzvah children can have an individual service, the student to teacher ratio is very low, and they can give time and attention to the special needs students and those needing some additional assistance. Understanding the busy schedules of suburban families, their Hebrew School is now one day a week without sacrificing the curriculum. They have Ipads to assist in learning and enrichment activities. PJC is unaffiliated, meaning they can be flexible with the rules of observance, embracing a wider variety of the Jewish population of the area. The youth will enjoy BBYO, B’nai Brith Youth Organization, in 2016, something to keep the post B’nai Mitzvah crowd involved. PJC has become more involved in their community, linking up with Manalapan Helps, Holiday Wishes Campaign, and the Jewish Family & Children’s Service to do outreach. Stay tuned for notices of the upcoming events and activities, such as the March Gala celebrating the 26th anniversary of their Rabbi, Sheldon Schevelowitz. For information about this wonderful group of people, contact them at (732) 334-8774.