Religions and Spirituality

After 44 Years, Rabbi Leaves New Brunswick Temple

04286fa99eba35cdcce5_IMG_0130.JPG
Rabbi Bennett Miller retired from Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick after 44 years.
04286fa99eba35cdcce5_IMG_0130.JPG

NEW BRUNSWICK - It was 1974. The Sting and The Exorcist were in the movie theaters. President Richard Nixon resigned from office, and Rabbi Bennett Miller was in his first year at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple.

“I expected to be here three to five years,” Miller said.

He remained much longer, starting as assistant rabbi and continuing until last month, when he retired as elder senior rabbi after 44 years.

Sign Up for E-News

In that time the congregation at the Temple has grown and now reaches well beyond the city, numerous educational and Bible study programs have been established, and the religious center began projects to help the homeless and impoverished in the city.

Miller has also persuaded more than 100 students from the to study for a semester at the Issac and Helaine Heller EIE High School in Israel, which he says is a large number than from any other Reformed congregation in North American.

“It was a great run,” Miller said of his more than four decades at AEMT.

During that time he has seen changes in the temple and New Brunswick. When he arrived as a newly ordained rabbi, the city had foreboding reputation, with little activity downtown at night.

“It was a place that you were told you should not feel safe,” he said. That has since changed. “Now, New Brunswick is alive every night, seven nights a week.” Equally important, he said, has been the construction of new city schools.

When he arrived, the temple had little activity at night and weekends. Most of the congregation was from New Brunswick or neighboring Highland Park.

Now the 500-plus families who are members including people from Metuchen to Princeton.
There are programs several nights a week and several religious classes on weekends.

While some members and leaders over the years urged moving the temple to the suburbs, Miller contended it should remain in the city, in part because of the beautiful building constructed in 1930. The temple was originally founded in the city in 1859.

More importantly, Miller said, was the opportunity to serve the city.

“We open our doors to the homeless,” he said. “We are the largest distributor of (disposable) diapers in the state.” The temple has a Community Development Corporation that donates formula to mothers in need, and lends out car seats and baby furniture.

Members, the Rabbi said, volunteer at Elijah’s Promise Community Soup Kitchen, and are involved in the city’s two hospital as well as the George Street Playhouse.

Miller has been the driving force behind all the temple efforts, said Keith Krivitzky, CEO of  The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey

“Rabbi Bennett has done an amazing job shepherding his community,” Krivitzky said.

“He really brought this Jewish voice in a relationship with the community. In a place of increasing divisiveness, he has been keeping people focused on the community and to bring value to the community,” he said

Krivitzky said Miller's work has extended beyond the temple and the city to work on national organizations.

Miller is the immediate past president of the Association of Reform Zionists of America, and serves in several other national organizations. Miller is a founding member of the pastoral committee at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and serves on a committee for Jewish studies at Rutgers University.

Having recently turned 70, Miller says he will stay active with those organizations outside the temple. He may still serve AEMT in some form in the future.

One part of his work at the temple that he will miss is seeing projects begin with ideas and progress into community programs

“I will miss the day-to-day interaction with people, from children to senior citizens. I will miss listening and dreaming, and seeing the dreams come to fruition,” he said.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Piscataway

TapInto Welcomes Letters to the Editor, Guidelines for Submission Listed

PISCATAWAY, NJ - Letters to the Editor are a time-honored tradition in the newspaper industry and now that so much of news has moved online, the letters explaining a personal point of view have moved with it.

While many of our letters come during election time, TapInto invites letters year round. The main rules are to include a full name, phone number, email and snail mail address. TapInto ...

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 17, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

New Brunswick Moves Toward Renewable Energy at Lower Cost

July 20, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK,NJ - Following in the steps of growing number of municipalities, New Brunswick now proposes to buy electricity in bulk to get a low rate for all households, and to seek an supplier that will employ environmentally-friend renewable energy sources.

"The city is moving forward on a plan to bring more renewable energy resources to our community, a plan that will help ...

Obituaries

Hillsborough, NJ - Gina (Francoisa) Salamon, 90, died Monday, July 9, 2018 at Bridgeway Care Center ...
Read more
Piscataway – Michael John Doherty, 73, passed away Saturday June 16, 2018 in Las Vegas, ...
Read more

The Somerset Patriots And 9-1-1 On FOX Are Looking For Hero First Responders

July 20, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset Patriots and 9-1-1 On FOX are asking for Hero First Responder nominations from the community.

Nominate a first responder to be recognized on the field during the pre-game ceremony and throw out a ceremonial first pitch at the Saturday, August 4th Somerset Patriots game against the New Britain Bees at TD Bank Ballpark. Three first responders will be chosen ...

First Baptist Church Re-Adopts Church Street

South Plainfield, NJ - Pastor Jesse Nietzer, on behalf of the First Baptist Church of South Plainfield, has signed an agreement with the South Plainfield Clean Business Association to renew the Church’s adoption of the entire length of Church Street and a piece of Hamilton Boulevard, from the Church to the Bound Brook.  Ten people will continue to collect litter from the ...

Piscataway Library Accepting Diaper Donations Now Through July 31st

The Piscataway Public Library is helping the Central Jersey Diaper Bank collect diaper donations through the month of July. 

New or open packs of disposable baby diapers (all sizes) and wipes are needed.

Look for the blue bins at either Kennedy or Westergard to donate!

Rutgers-Newark Athletic Field Renamed to Honor Frederick Douglass

Newark, NJ – Long before Rutgers University-Newark created an athletic field on University Avenue, the abolitionist Frederick Douglass delivered an address in 1849 at a church that once stood there.

Rutgers Board of Governors approved a resolution to rename the field in honor of the time Douglass spent here. The field will now be called the Frederick Douglass ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, July 21, 10:00 AM

NJ Convention and Exposition Center, Edison

82nd Annual Garden State Cat Show & Expo

Giving Back Other

Sun, July 22, 10:00 AM

NJ Convention and Exposition Center, Edison

82nd Annual Garden State Cat Show & Expo

Giving Back Other

Sun, July 22, 11:00 AM

Columbia Park Senior Center, Dunellen

Bus Trip to SOPAC's Hunchback of Notre Dame ...

Arts & Entertainment

Mon, July 23, 10:00 AM

NJ Convention and Exposition Center, Edison

82nd Annual Garden State Cat Show & Expo

Giving Back Other

Wed, July 25, 7:00 PM

Washington Park, Dunellen

Free Music in the Park | Princesa - Pop / Latin

Arts & Entertainment

Residents Taking Action Against White Supremacist Fliers Found Around Bridgewater, Bedminster, Other Local Areas

July 17, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Residents of Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and surrounding communities are mobilizing for action after they found posters around town promoting Identity Evropa, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled a white supremacist group.

According to Bridgewater resident Stacey Friedlander, a member of the “Not In Our Town – Bridgewater/Raritan” ...

Big Changes in Store for New Jersey’s Employers and Employees

July 15, 2018

Big changes are in store for New Jersey’s workplaces, with dramatic legislation aimed at improving conditions for New Jersey’s workers. These changes include the enactment of New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act, a new law to help the unemployed, and passage of New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act. Most likely one or all these laws will impact you or someone in your family.

New ...

Would Shedding

How much wood wouldn’t a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck woodn’t?

 

Enough already.  

 

I get it.  It is an easy mistake to make, misusing would and wouldn’t.  It happens to me all the time.

 

“Honey, when I said I didn’t see any reason why I would go to the ballet, I meant to say I couldn’t see ...