Who We Are
Mt. Freedom Jewish Center (MFJC) is the home of every Jewish person. In this home, each person’s spiritual journey is unique, and we respect the path that he or she is on. The synagogue tries to provide spiritual and ritual involvement for all of our members. By upholding the Halachik Jewish legal tradition, behaving with sensitivity, kindness, respect, tolerance and acceptance are not just abstract philosophies at the Mt. Freedom Jewish Center; they are ideas that are lived and practiced. This is what makes us a special place.
The Mt. Freedom Jewish Center is the one and only synagogue in Randolph. Founded as an orthodox synagogue in 1923, Mt. Freedom Jewish Center served the summer and bungalow communities of Morris County. As the population of Morris County grew, Mt. Freedom Jewish Center became a year-round synagogue, growing with the times and the congregation. The building has had several renovations, but if you lift the lovely stained glass windows in the sanctuary and lobby, you will see the walls of the original, simple wooden building behind them.
MFJC cherishes its rich 90-year-plus history while striving to meet the modern day needs of the community. Serving the diverse communities of Morris County, MFJC has become not only a house of worship, but also a place of learning, a source of caring, and an outlet for social enjoyment.
Mt. Freedom Jewish Center is a diverse, vibrant, and family-friendly open orthodox synagogue that provides religious, cultural, social and educational experiences to the entire Jewish community of Morris County, New Jersey. MFJC strives to integrate Jewish tradition, law and spirit with contemporary life, and through education, social action and social activities, meet the needs of our larger Jewish community.
Though situated at the heart of Morris County, Mt. Freedom Jewish Center is not on the outskirts of the American Jewish experience. All Jewish communities, large and small alike, are facing serious financial, educational, affiliation, and ideological challenges. Our vision is to create an atmosphere of a community synagogue, anchored by timeless Jewish practice of the Halacha, where all are welcomed and all have something of value to contribute, regardless of gender, educational background or observance level. We believe that intellectual openness, community-mindedness and ritually welcoming practices are the keys to passionate Jewish life and continuity. We believe that inviting Jewish people and families to participate in this kind of Jewish experience will enable personal growth and community investment.
Our staff includes our Rabbi, Rav Menashe East (see Our Rabbi page), a Rabbinic intern, Office Administrator, caretaker, and Hebrew School teachers.
Assisting Rabbi East is rabbinic intern Scott Kalmikoff. Dan is currently in his third year of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah rabbinical school. Using innovative educational methodologies, he has spent the last few years teaching children about Judaism and Torah at camp, school, and shul. He also writes a weekly dvar Torah that is sent to more than 500 people. Before entering the world of Rabbinics, Dan was in the financial services sector. He used to seek stocks and trade bonds, now he helps people take stock and form bonds. Dan lives in Queens, New York with his lovely wife Odelia and his wonderful son Jacob.
Office Administrator David Paris is a long time member and has been working in the office since 2008. Friendly and always willing to help or answer your questions, David can be reached at 973-895-2100.
Caretaker Cindy Hathaway has been with Mt. Freedom Jewish Center for more than three decades. She was recently honored by Sisterhood for her 30 years of dedicated service. Cindy knows the synagogue inside and out, and is the backbone of all that goes on in the building. We are truly appreciative of all that she does. Cindy resides in Randolph and has two grown children.
Hebrew school teacher Mimi Czeisler earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University, and has teaching certifications in Maryland, Illinois, and New Jersey. She has taught grades K through 5 in Hebrew School, Mommy and Me classes, substituted at the Hebrew Academy (now the Gottesman RTW Academy), and also does private tutoring. She currently works at the Calais School for special needs students, as well as the Morristown Jewish Center.
Mimi and her family, husband Jeff and children Paula and Barry, moved to the Shongum area in 1987, and have been members of Mt. Freedom Jewish Center for more than two decades. She has taught in our Hebrew School since 1989, and takes great pleasure in the number of students who have “graduated” our program and have become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah over the past 23 years. Mimi enjoys working with children, not only teaching curriculum through creative projects, but also helping all students develop a love of Judaism, celebrating the beauties of our traditions. She hopes to see our Hebrew School continue to grow and is looking forward to another successful year.
Hebrew school teacher Sharon Nessel received her Bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Albany with a minor in Hebrew. She has been teaching Hebrew School and working with Jewish youth groups as an advisor for Kadima, USY, NFTY and other synagogue groups from the time she was in college. She has a strong Judaic background having gone to Jewish Day School through High School. As a MFJC Hebrew school teacher in 2007-10, she helped to enhance the curriculum and has taught in many synagogues in Morris County as well as at the Liberal Synagogue in Brussels Belgium while living abroad. Sharon has taught Hebrew to adults through Read Hebrew America as well. Additionally, Sharon worked as Director of Programming for MFJC for 5 years. She is very much looking forward to teaching your children at the MFJC, where she has raised her 3 children, and to which she has devoted much of her volunteer time.
Hebrew school teacher Donna Amdur East is our newest addition to the teaching staff. Donna grew up in a number of communities, but spent a majority of her time in Highland Park, New Jersey and Israel. She graduated from Yeshiva University with a minor in Jewish Studies. She has pursued a Masters in Jewish Philosophy at Bernard Revel Grad School. Donna moved to Randolph, New Jersey, with her husband Rav Menashe in 2009, and has four children. She has taught in South Brunswick, at the New School in Manhattan, and at the Ramaz lower school. She is thrilled to continue her teaching career and share her love of Jewish education at Mt. Freedom Jewish Center Hebrew School.
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is comprised of officers and general members who are elected for two-year terms. Board meetings take place at least every other month, and more often monthly. There is at least one congregational meeting per year, the annual meeting held in June. Volunteering for a board position is an expression of care for our community and the donation of time and effort by our board members is greatly appreciated.
Board of Trustees 2014-15
Sharon Nessel, President
Sherry Pollack, First Vice President
Steve Okun, Second Vice President
Bernie Elbaum, Treasurer
David Leibowitz, Secretary
Members at Large
Men’s Club President
Have your party at Mt. Freedom Jewish Center!
With a beautiful sanctuary, two kitchens (dairy and meat), two halls, Baum Hall for under 50 people and Hirschhorn Social Hall for more than 50, open lobby and classrooms, Mt. Freedom Jewish Center is a wonderful place to host your events. From B’nai Mitzvah, to weddings, to luncheons and lectures and seminars, we have what you need.
Please call the office administrator (973-895-2100) for information and availability.
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