Members of Congregation Sons of Israel, the Traditional congregation in Manalapan, are slowly getting accustomed to the sharp new look of their building on Gordons Corner Road.
In place of the simple white facade that had characterized the structure, there is now a reddish brown one with a steeply angled roof line.
Congregants welcomed the renovation at a Sept. 13 dedication ceremony led by Rabbi Robert S. Pilavin and attended by such dignitaries as Manalapan Mayor Richard Kauber.
The large gathering of congregants included new members and old-timers who have belonged to the shul, which was founded in the 1920s, for over six decades. Writing in the synagogue’s October newsletter, president Mitch Lustgarten said, “Everyone there was able to share in the love and pride in our synagogue that we all felt.”
The renovation, in the planning for three years, was funded with help from Bobbie and Howard Levine in memory of congregation members Paul and Sol Andacht. Lustgarten recalled that the Levines also donated a Torah scroll to Sons of Israel in 1983. “The generosity and caring for the shul demonstrated by the Levines over the decades is to be greatly admired,” he wrote.
The present shul building was originally dedicated on Oct. 12, 1969. According to David Binder, who handles the congregation’s public relations, an extension was added some years later, but the renovation is the first major change to the exterior in 40 years.
The process was overseen by a restoration committee comprising Pilavin, Lustgarten, executive vice president Bob Schwartz, past president Steve Litwok, Rudy Stanko, Barbara and Maurice Zagha, and Jack Linder.