JLC Shul History
The JLC came into being in the fall of 1994, through the efforts of a group of community-minded individuals who recognized the need for quality adult education. It was first located on the second floor of the CMI building on Route 9, in a conference room generously provided by Dotty and Aron Jablonka. It opened with two weekly programs: a lunch-hour discussion group on Thursdays, and a Monday evening individualized program. Attendance grew, and requests came in for more classes. In response, the JLC hosted several innovative programs. A Jewish History Crash Course was introduced in January 1995. In September 1995, Spirituality: A Jewish Perspective began.
That same month, the JLC expanded further with its first class in the Marlboro Branch of the Monmouth County Public Library. This Hebrew Reading Crash Course drew a huge crowd and became the first of many events to be held in the libraries.
Soon afterwards, a Beginners Service was established. At first, it was organized as an instructive class, but later became the foundation for our user-friendly MInyan. In addition, special events became more varied, and included a Discovery Seminar, a Kashrus Seminar, an experiential Tisha B'av program, and a High Holiday retreat.
Rosh Hashana, 5757(1996) found the JLC on the front page of the Asbury Park Press. The lead article described the work of the JLC, and a picture of Rabbi Chaim Safren leading a Beginners Service class was featured in the middle of the front page.
The next chapter in the history of the JLC opened with its move to a suite at 701 Tennent Road. With larger quarters encompassing several rooms, more classes could be offered and the schedule expanded even further.
In 1998, the JLC introduced a new series. The Art of Jewish Parenting: Making Your Child Into a Mentch was Rabbi Jonathan Rietti's debut at the JLC. His entertaining style has made, him tremendously popular, and he has been back several times as part of a very successful parenting series. This series has served as a springboard for more courses on related topics. As a result, Rabbi Veshnefsky and Rabbi Safren have presented numerous lectures on parenting, marriage and relationships.
The World of the Supernatural, a beginners introduction to Kabbalah, was the first introductory kabbalah class to be offered. It was followed by Kabbalah: Unlocking the Mysteries and, most recently, Life and the Afterlife.
In January 2001, the JLC hosted its most successful series ever: Judaism and the Supernatural, with Rabbi Mordechai Becher, of Gateways Seminars. Over 200 people attended these fascinating lectures which were held at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters in Manalapan.
Subsequently, Rabbi Becher returned to the library for a three part series entitled Opening the Gates of Wisdom. Once again record crowds turned out for his ever popular series.
In the spring of 2001, work began on the JLC campus at 138 Pine Brook Road. Tremendous excitement was felt as the JLC looked forward to the completion of its new home.
The Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Phase I Joseph and Martha Melohn Building was held on June 10, 2001, and was attended by many members of the community. Mayor Cozollino addressed the crowd, as well as JLC members and rabbis.
An impressive milestone was reached in December, 2001, when the JLC celebrated the completion of the entire book of Genesis. For over seven years, Rabbi Veshnefsky taught every verse, unraveling its complexities and showing its depth and relevance. Since then, he has continued with the Book of Exodus, explaining the fundamental teachings that it contains.
The JLC 's Third Annual Dinner had a very special dimension to it - the completion of the new JLC Sefer Torah. The first letters of the Torah Scroll had been written at the Second Annual Dinner the year before, and ceremonies marking the completion of the first four of the Five Books of Moses were held throughout the year at the Silverstein, Levy, Berko and Felsenstein homes. The final book - Deuteronomy - was completed at the Third Annual Dinner, to the accompaniment of much joyous singing and dancing.
On June 26, 2002 the same joy was felt again when the new Torah Scroll was brought into the newly completed Joseph and Martha Melohn building. The JLC now had a beautiful home of its own, and the capability to host Sabbath and Holiday programs.
The Grand Opening Shabbos was July 5-6, and daily, Sabbath and Holiday services have been held ever since. The High Holidays hosted a full house, Succos saw a joyous party in the new Succah, and Simchas Torah was witness to lively and spirited celebration.
Each Shabbos, guests are hosted in the guest suites, and the hot Kiddush and meals (featuring cholent, of course) are full of warmth and singing.
This past fall, the JLC had the honor of hosting the world-famous rabbinic authority, Rabbi Reuven Feinstein.