On Saturday, December 30, 2013 marked the fourth day of Chanukah. It was also the day that my friend Brandon and I visited the Center For Jewish Life in Marlboro, NJ. According to the information gathered from different online news articles, it is a fairly young Synagogue that opened its doors in another smaller location in 2004. The current site of the temple was the former Monmouth Worship Center. Rabbi Yossi Kanelsky, with the help of the members of the congregation, relocated to this 18,000 square foot building in 2011. It is located on a scenic part of Route 79 surrounded by private homes. The Synagogue can accommodate more than 500 people and has 17 classrooms for various children and adult activities.
Morning Shabbat service was just starting at 9 am. Entering the building my friend Brandon reached and touched the Mezuzah that was on the right side of the door. He explained that every door in a Jewish home or building has a Mezuzah. The lobby area had many intricate plaques on the wall commemorating past relatives. Before we entered the large room where the congregation was sitting, there were certain items we had to take with us. The first was the yarmulke, which is traditional head covering for the men. The second was a garment, which was a religious style covering around the top of the members’ body. It had Hebrew letters on the rim of one side and that is the side where it went around our shoulders and neck. Most importantly we took with us the English version of the leather bound book that was a copy of the Torah.
Upon entering the room I noticed a long white lattice fence in the middle of the room. It was a partition designed to separate the men and women during the prayer service. Once we said our hellos to the other men in our section we sat down to turn to the page that was referenced in the front of the room. Since the service is in Hebrew and most people in the room did not speak it, every couple of minutes Rabbi Kaneslsky would flip to a new page. This is done so everyone, no matter when they came in to the room, would know where they are in the prayers. If the Rabbi was busy with reading from the Torah, then another man that was is helper would turn to the correct page. It looked like he had two people that we’re also dressed very religiously helping him conduct the services that morning.
As the service went on there would be times the congregation would stand up and read the lines out load. The congregation would conclude it with a loud “Amen”. Different people would come up to read the main Torah...