Shulem Deen to speak at Temple Shalom Dec. 18

Shulem Deen, author of “All Who Go Do Not Return,” a memoir about growing up in and then leaving the Hasidic Jewish world, will speak at Shabbat evening services at Temple Shalom of Aberdeen, 5 Ayrmont Lane, on Dec. 18. Deen will answer questions following services. Services begin at 7:45 p.m. Temple Shalom is located at 5 Ayrmont Lane in Aberdeen.

As a member of the Skverers, one of the most insular Hasidic sects in the United States, he knew little about the outside world. Deen’s memoir features the initial questioning of the faith, the experience of disillusionment, discovery of enlightenment, and attempts to find one’s way in an entirely unfamiliar secular world.

His work has appeared in The New Republic, Salon, Tablet Magazine, The Jewish Daily Forward, and elsewhere. He serves as a board member at Footsteps, a New York City-based organization that offers assistance and support to those who have left the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

For more information, call Rita Carol at 732-583-2386.

Keyport holding home decorating contest

The Keyport Recreation Commission will be sponsoring awards for outdoor holiday decorations. The judging will take place on Dec. 17 from 6:30-9 p.m. Make sure your lights are turned on to be included in this event.

Winners will be announced New Year’s Day at the reorganization meeting, held at the Keyport Central School in the all-purpose room on Broad Street. You must be present to claim your prize.

The homes that have won a prize in this event in the past three years are not eligible to win a prize this year.

For more information, call 732-739- 5145.

United Methodist to host Live Nativity Dec. 20

The United Methodist Churches of Atlantic Highlands and Navesink will host a Live Nativity on Dec. 20 at 4 p.m. The event will be held at the church located at 96 3rd Ave. in Atlantic Highlands.

The Rev. Jill Hubbard-Smith will read the Christmas story as children of the community don costumes and accompany live animals to a stable. The church invites any children who wish to participate in the show to come out and join them. No registration is necessary to take part in the occasion.

Carols will be sung throughout the presentation, and refreshments will be available. It is suggested that attendees bring flashlights in order to read the song lyrics.

The use of the animals has been donated by W.H. Potter and Son of Red Hill Road, Middletown.

For more information, call 732-291-0485.

Holiday exhibit opens at Monmouth Museum

The holiday season is currently under way at the Monmouth Museum. “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles, Oh My!,” an exhibition on transportation, is this year’s holiday exhibition at the museum which will run now through Jan. 3, 2016. The Main Gallery at the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. and Friday until 9 p.m., where the popular large model train display is located.

Art scholars often talk about how art transports the viewer to another time or place. Transportation is defined as the movement of people, animals, and goods from one location to another. It is crucial to commerce, the development of civilizations and to maintaining relationships between people near and far. In this exhibition more than 60 artists present visual depictions of all means of transportation imagery in various media.

In addition to the artwork in the Main Gallery, a myriad of talented local artisans are showcased in the Nilson Gallery’s Holiday Gift Gallery, with one of-a-kind gifts for your shopping convenience.

The Monmouth Museum, founded in 1963 as a Museum of Ideas, presents changing art, history, and science exhibitions to educate and entertain while providing a destination for creative expression and life-long learning to the diverse community it serves.

Imaginative and informative changing exhibitions in the Main Gallery and Nilson Gallery present a wide variety of art in all media. The Museum’s New Jersey Emerging Artists Series in the Nilson Gallery features six solo exhibitions each year by New Jersey artists.

Educational programs at the Museum include guided tours, lectures and workshops, and gallery talks and demonstrations.

Entrance to the museum is free for members and $8 per person over the age of 2. For more information about the Monmouth Museum exhibits and programs, visit www.monmouthmuseum.org.

Middletown police collecting toys

The annual Middletown Township PBA Local 124 Toy Drive is under way. New, unwrapped toys for boys, girls, tweens and teens can be brought to Police Headquarters at 1 Kings Highway or any of the township’s 11 fire houses. Donations can also be given to any Middletown police officer.

Toys are distributed to Middletown Helps Its Own, Jason’s Dreams and 180 Turning Lives Around. The Middletown officers also partner with local schools including Thorne Middle School and Middletown Helps Its Own to package and deliver Christmas baskets to hundreds of local families in need.

The 2015 Toy Drive runs through Dec. 17.

Cross of Glory to hold tree lighting Dec. 13

Come ring in the Christmas season with the congregation of Cross of Glory Lutheran Church at its eighth annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Carol Sing, to be held rain or shine at 5 p.m. on Dec. 13 at 95 Cambridge Drive in Aberdeen.

On top of carol-singing and lighting the church’s Christmas tree on the property’s front yard, revelers are then invited into Fellowship Hall to enjoy home baked sweets and pastries alongside other refreshments provided by Delicious Orchards and Dearborn Market. The tree will remain lit every night through the 2015 holiday season.

“It’s a wonderful time for families and friends,” says Jeremy Samuelson, longtime head of Cross of Glory’s tree lighting committee. “We sing our hearts out every year — our ’12 Days of Christmas’ is not to be missed. Then we light the tree, and head back inside to our fellowship hall for a smorgasbord of treats and sweets.”

Delicious Orchards and Dearborn Market helps supplement the church’s own assortment of home baked treats. To volunteer, or for further information about the event, contact Samuelson at 732-583- 1118, visit www.coglcnj.org, or go to Cross of Glory Lutheran Church’s Facebook page.