Electricity filled the air on Sunday evening, January 27, as hundreds gathered at the vibrant Center for Jewish Life in Marlboro, New Jersey for their annual gala dinner. As a shining paradigm of Jewish education, culture and continuity for the communities of Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean counties in central New Jersey, the Center for Jewish Life focuses on providing year-long multi-dimensional programming for the Russian-Jewish community.
This year marked a most special occasion, as financial entrepreneur Simon Garber, along with his wife Lina, dedicated CJL’s brand new building and commissioned world-class artist Domingo Zapata to complete a 10 foot mural entitled, “Tree of Life” in honor of the auspicious occasion.
Arriving in America as young immigrants of the former Soviet Union, Simon and Lina Garber’s values of hard work and responsibility for their future played a major part in their lives in their new found country. As a result, they are now prominent entrepreneurs, who stand shoulder – to-shoulder with the socially and financially successful. Because of their long-standing and avid support of the vital work that the CJL does, the Garbers dedicated themselves and their resources to furthering the development of the center’s ever expanding programming.
For the Garbers, dedicating a new building for the Center for Jewish Life has been a glorious dream come true. It has been their fervent desire to offer the synagogue a new, state of the art building as a place where Jewish life will thrive for generations to come “Simon and Lina are the paradigm of an open heart; of going the extra mile”, declared Rabbi Yossi Kanelsky, spiritual leader of CJL. “They repeatedly give to the community, and have conceptualized this virtue as well in their personal lives by constantly striving for more spirituality and endeavoring to reach other Jews to share the beautiful aspects of our heritage; something they themselves were denied growing up in the Former Soviet Union,” he added.
The dinner was attended by such political figures as Kim Guadagno, the Lt. Governor of the State of New Jersey and a bevy of celebrated local personalities. The highlight of the extraordinarily impressive evening was the dramatic unveiling ceremony of the building’s new name piece. The impressive mural by renowned artist Domingo Zapata, who was also in attendance, featured a symbolic trajectory of the CJL Russian-born members from the former Soviet Union to America.