The organization formed by the merger of the umbrella Jewish philanthropies in Middlesex and Monmouth Counties has a new name: The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County and the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County merged on Jan. 1, 2015. A number of details are still to be worked out, but the combined philanthropy agreed on a name at a board meeting on Jan. 15.
A new website and other communications vehicles for the federation are in the works.
The merger brings the number of Jewish federations in the state from 11 to 10.
“This is more than the marriage of two federations,” said Mitch Frumkin of Kendall Park, president of the merged federation, who previously held the same position at the Middlesex federation. “This new Jewish federation is collaborating with partners and people from all facets of Jewish life to solve the big issues facing the Jewish community,” he said.
The federation hired a marketing firm to help facilitate the naming process, with the aim of finding a moniker that was “forward-thinking while remaining true to our federation roots,” said Keith Krivitzky, CEO of the new entity and formerly executive director of the Monmouth federation.
“We went in knowing geographical boundaries are arbitrary,” he said. “People don’t think of themselves as residents of a county. They say they are from East Brunswick or central Jersey.”
The name “also has a whole other layer of meaning beyond geography that has to do with our values and hearts.”
The new federation, said Krivitzky, “will be focused on much more than fund-raising, recognizing that the challenges facing today’s Jewish community go beyond helping with social services and new immigrants to Israel. The federation has a vital role to play in ensuring the community can thrive in the future.”
Among the first events to be hosted by the new federation is a gathering for young adults on Thursday evening, Jan. 29, at the Wine Loft in Long Branch’s Pier Village. Officials said they received feedback from young adults who wanted an opportunity for Jews in their 20s, 30s, and 40s to socialize and network with others and learn about ways to participate in Jewish activities — like volunteering, joining a federation committee, and planning other young adult events.
On Sunday, Feb. 8, the federation will host a presentation of the historical play, The Whipping Man, at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick. The play, about a Jewish Confederate soldier and his former — also Jewish — slaves, will be followed by a dessert and talk-back reception.
Susan Antman, the new federation’s executive vice president — who was executive director of the Middlesex federation, said, “We recognize that we are stronger together than any one of us can be alone, and will continue to lead the way to create a thriving Jewish community in New Jersey and beyond.”