The Cranbury Press, September 26, 2003

Local synagogues herald the new year

By: Al Wicklund , Staff Writer 09/26/2003

Monroe's Jewish population gathers for traditional celebrations.

   MONROE — Rosh Hashana services, celebrating the Jewish new year, will be held at three centers in Monroe Township today, Saturday and Sunday.
   Rabbi Ben Levy of Congregation Etz Chaim, Monroe Township Jewish Center, said Wednesday Rosh Hashana is a time for hope and for self-improvement.
   "We look toward the coming year with the hope that it will be better than the year it follows. The new year also is the opportunity to better ourselves, our communities and the world in general," the rabbi said.
   High holy day services will be offered at Congregation Etz Chaim, Monroe Township Jewish Center, Cornell Avenue, at the Chabad Jewish Center at the Courtyard Marriott on Forsgate Drive... 
The Chabad Jewish Center of Monroe will offer services, led by Rabbi Eliezer Zaklikovsky, today at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
   Rabbi Zaklikovsky, in a talk at Castle Senior Living at Forsgate last week, described the making of the shofar, the ancient ritual horn that is sounded on Rosh Hashana.
   He said the horn that is used to make the musical instrument must be hollow and bent. All cartilage is removed and the horn is cut, drilled, sanded and shellacked.
   The rabbi said the horned animal must be kosher; it must have split hooves and it chews its cud. The horn often comes from a ram.
   He said the sounding of the shofar at Rosh Hashana is a "wake-up call."
   "It reminds us to take stock of what we are, to reflect on what we were and did in the past year and what we should resolve to do and be in the coming year," Rabbi Zaklikovsky said.
   He said traditional foods served at Rosh Hashana follow the theme of better life.
   "For instance, apples dipped in honey tell us life should be sweet," the rabbi said.
   Those wishing more information about the schedule of services can call (609) 655-2200 for the Chabad Jewish Center of Monroe, meeting at the Courtyard Marriott; and (732) 251-1119 for Congregation Etz Chaim Monroe Township Jewish Center.