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Federation ‘shuk’ shows off range of merged programs
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Federation ‘shuk’ shows off range of merged programs

The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ showed off its services on Monday, in a Scotch Plains showcase that was one part agency fair, one part reunion.

About 140 people, primarily members from what was the Jewish Federation of Central NJ, attended the Regional Celebration on Feb. 25 at the Wilf Jewish Community Campus.

The event featured a program “shuk,” or marketplace, reminding participants of the various programs offered by the educational and social service agencies of the Greater MetroWest federation.

Officials of the umbrella Jewish philanthropy, formed last year by the merger of the former Central and MetroWest federations, held the event as part of an ongoing effort to integrate the two communities.

Among those showcasing their programs were Rabbi Lisa Vernon and Mike Schatzberg, leaders of Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack 118 (“the best-kept secret in New Jersey”); Barbara Wind, director of the Holocaust Council of MetroWest; and Linda Poleyeff of the Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life, who described the incentive grants available to first-time campers through One Happy Camper NJ.

Shari Bates of Fanwood, one of 10 people enrolled in the Arthur Borinsky Young Leadership Development Program, described how the group brings together an equal number from the two areas. Meeting in one another’s homes, participants learn about the various aspects of the federation’s work and develop leadership skills.

“It’s been great working with this group,” she said. “I’m really learning what inspires me, and what I most want to be involved with.”

The Regional Celebration was chaired by Toby Goldberger and Stacie Friedman. They worked with Marcy Lazar and Stacey Davis, the cochairs of the merger integration team.

“We now offer more programs than you can imagine,” said Goldberger, welcoming the crowd.

Any change brings challenges, she acknowledged, but assured local audience members that all this abundance “only enhances what already exists in this wonderful community.”

The president of the federation, Lori Klinghoffer of Short Hills, pointed out that the two communities on either side of Route 22 were “separated at birth,” but had shared values and goals all along. Just back from a trip to Israel, she described the communities’ combined efforts in the Negev. Such work, she said, “truly represents what we at Greater MetroWest have done and will continue to do.”

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