WEST ORANGE, N.J., November 20, 2013 – The dining room at Jewish Federation Plaza in West Orange will soon be alight with Chanukah candles in the new Israeli menorah donated by Julie Gelb and an anonymous donor. Gelb is a former employee of the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey, which owns and manages Jewish Federation Plaza and three other senior living communities located in Essex and Morris counties.
The menorah was a gift to the residents who attend the community’s regular Friday afternoon Oneg Shabbat service, a short worship service and informal gathering to usher in the Jewish Sabbath. It was designed by Judiaca designer and artist, Yair Emanuel; Gelb purchased the menorah in Israel last month. It is the first gift that Jewish Federation Plaza has received for its new dining room, which is being remodeled as part of an extensive renovation project currently underway at the senior residence.
The art piece is decorated with pomegranate fruits; according to Jewish tradition the pomegranate is a symbol of righteousness because it is said to have 613 seeds, which corresponds to the 613 mitzvot, or commandments, of the Torah. The weekly Oneg Shabbat service, led by Rabbi Ronald Kaplan, JF Joint Chaplaincy, includes the blessing over the challah, mandolin playing by resident Clara Beckerman, and reading portions of the Torah.
Jewish Federation Plaza is located at 750 Northfield Avenue in West Orange.