According to Taly Kornfeld, JCC Board Member, “Joel and Sally Freed, originally of Kingston, recently donated an Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark where the Torah Scrolls are kept) to the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston”.
Joel Freed was born and raised in Kingston, attending the United Hebrew Institute, formerly on 3rd Ave, and participating in activities at the former JCC in Wilkes-Barre. The area had a great impact on Joel, as he still maintains a membership at the Ohav Zedek in honor of Rabbi Pernikoff, who taught him as a child at UHI. Freed and his wife, Sally met in Kingston, as they were next-door neighbors at the time they wed. They left the area after he graduated from college but he still holds close ties to the area.
When asked why they decided to donate the Aron Kodesh to the Friedman JCC, Freed said, “What was the Kingston Minyan that started at the UHI that is now at the JCC, we decided that it would be a great thing that they have their own Aron Kodesh and that we would donate it in memory of my parents, David and Eva Freed.”
CEO of the Friedman JCC, Gary Bernstein, believes this donation is one that has significance in the community. “The JCC, like most nonprofits, relies very heavily on donations and contributions and support from its members and community. Our JCC is very fortunate that the Freeds identified the JCC as a recipient of his donation. This is a very significant donation to our operation, so we’re all very grateful and appreciative.”
He noted that not only will the Aron Kodesh be of great use to worshippers on Shabbat, but it will also serve as a beautiful piece of artwork, as it was designed by woodworker Ed Cohen of Massachusetts, who specializes in creating fine handcrafted Judaica.
Joel and Sally Freed’s generous donation will serve as a beautiful staple of the Friedman JCC for generations to come.