2011-03-02 / Front Page

Shabbat Across America returns

FREEHOLD — Members of western Monmouth County’s Jewish community will gather at the Freehold Jewish Center, 59 Broad St., on March 4 in a display of Jewish revitalization and unity.

Conceived and organized by the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) in 1997, ShabbatAcrossAmerica/Canada represents a united effort by the entire Jewish community to renew interest in the fourth of the 10 Commandments — observing a weekly day of rest (shabbat in Hebrew).

Freehold Jewish Center will be one of about 700 synagogues across the continent that will simultaneously open their doors to all Jews so they may join together to experience a traditional shabbat service and festive meal.

Led by Rabbi Kenneth Greene and Cantor Robert Orenstein, attendees will experience an interactive Friday night explanatory service and a traditional shabbat dinner with all the rituals explained. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Prompted by the growing rate of Jewish assimilation in North America, NJOP hopes that a memorable and rewarding experience at Shabbat Across America/ Canada will infuse thousands of non-practicing Jews with a sense of a greater commitment to Judaism.

According to a press release, of the 5.2 million North American Jews, close to half no longer identify themselves as Jews, one million are unaffiliated with any Jewish organizations, and 1.2 million are marginally affiliated, meaning they rarely attend synagogue and have little to do with Jewish life.

Designed to teach a generation of unaffiliated Jews about the beauty and significance of the Jewish sabbath, Shabbat Across America/Canada is the first nationally orchestrated program to appeal to members of all major Jewish denominations. It is also the first and only program aimed at uniting Jews across the United States and Canada through one single presence — from major Jewish geographical centers such as New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, to cities with smaller Jewish populations.

For reservations, call 732-462-0254 or email office@freeholdjc.org.

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