A RIBBON-CUTTING ceremony on Oct. 19 officially opened the Outdoor Exploratorium at Congregation B’nai Israel in Rumson; part playground, part classroom, it is the centerpiece of a revitalized outdoor space for the synagogue.
Cantor Dov Goldberg, director of education, and Suzanne Wycoff, director of the Gan Yeladim Early Learning Center, cut the ribbon while Rabbi Jeff Sultar, Jewish Federation of Monmouth County executive director Keith Krivitzky, and CBI children and their parents — a total of more than 100 people — celebrated the new space.
Project manager Larry Kaplan, cochair of the CBI board of education, said the first phase of construction was chiefly “for our preschoolers. There is a story house, water features, a trike path with tunnel, all-weather musical instruments, a station for arts and crafts, and traditional playground equipment.”
In the next phase, plans call for an expansion of the space for older children and the entire CBI community, Kaplan said, adding, “We are planning to renovate our youth lounge, create a community garden, and build a multi-purpose outdoor space that can be used for services and events.”
Board of education cochair Michelle Martens acknowledged the many families, members, friends, and business associates who helped fund the project. Tootsie Olan and Melanie Brown, fund-raising cochairs for the Exploratorium, expressed gratitude for the community’s response.