Rabbi Brooks R. Susman
Rabbi Brooks R. Susman
Marc D. LeVine

by Nina Yellin, congregation member

What do Snapple caps and dinner at the deli have to do with confirmation? 

Let me tell you, you should only know:

Congregation Kol Am (www.congregationkolam.org), celebrated at Fred and Murray’s Deli in Freehold on erev Shavuot for a scrumptious dairy dinner of bagels and lox, kugel (of course), white fish salad, egg salad, pasta dishes and dessert (of course that too).

While we were still eating, Rabbi Brooks R. Susman, to our dismay, told us to stop. What? I did not have my second piece of chocolate ruggalah yet! It was time for the Confirmation ceremony to begin. Reluctantly I stopped eating.

Alexander Seth Feinstein, Jonathan Matthew Piscitelli, Ty Stephen Sebor, and Matthew Gregory Shernicoff were the confirmants and they did us proud. I had never attended a Confirmation that was quite like this one. It was Tuesday night June 3, 2014 (6 Sivan, 5774 on the Jewish Calendar). Each person in attendance received a lovely book that was compiled by the confirmants and our unique and wonderful rabbi. It was filled with traditional and non-traditional prayers that were chosen by the students. Many were the words to popular songs like Blowin’ In The Wind by Bob Dylan and John Lennon’s Imagine.  Great Poems by Robert Frost and the children’s book author Shel Silverstein were included. The songs, poems and writings of the students expressed their values, concerns, feelings, thoughts, life lessons, and so much more. 

Alexander, Jonathan, Ty, and Matthew read from torah almost as they had years earlier at their bar mitzvahs. They told their speeches and my mouth hung open. The confirmants are teenagers – the best and the brightest – but still kids. Not! These are men, although still young, who will as they age just get better and better. What they learned from Rabbi Susman over dinner once a week and accomplished this past year from their confirmation class was amazing. Even the rabbi learned information that he did not know he wanted to know. It came from what was written on the bottom of Snapple bottle caps that the boys read to him and discussed.


Congregation Kol Am - a Reform Jewish congregation, established in 2001,  serves the greater Freehold area -- reaching out to Howell, Lakewood, Jackson, Manalapan, Marlboro and beyond in all directions.

We have built a congregation that is true to its name:  Voice of the People.  Our members are fully involved in the life of the congregation -- we are friendly, welcoming, concerned about our community and each other.  Education, for children and adults alike, is at the core of our being, and we take pride in having a spiritual leader - Rabbi Brooks R. Susman - who also leads our congregants in our quest to gain greater knowledge about our Jewish values, our history and our place in the larger world.


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