Toms River Regional Schools Hall of Fame

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Benjamin Novins

Benjamin Novins known as the "Judge" played a major role in the history of Ocean County business - from poultry farming and owning a local restaurant to real estate, insurance, and municipal law.

Judge Novins' father Hyman, a Russian immigrant, shut down a small New York factory during a labor dispute and bought a farm in Toms River on Old Freehold Road arriving here in 1913 with his wife and six sons. Benjamin was in the seventh grade. On the corner of Old Freehold Road and Maple Street there was a one-room schoolhouse with six rows of seats, one for each of the six grades. Seventh and eighth graqers had a small building on School Street, a three mile walk from the Novins' .farm. But the first building Benjamin Novins saw the day he came to downtown Toms River was a wooden shack which housed the First National Bank. Years later, Novins was to leave the farm and become such a successful business man that he was asked to be a director of that very same bank.

The Novins family were the first Jewish farmers to settle in Toms River. However, since growing crops proved not to be profitable due to South Jersey competition, the family started a poultry farm. Ben Novins left school after the seventh grade to help with the family farm. rhose were hard times but later business boomed and by the 1920's Monmouth and Ocean County became the center of egg production in the United States.

At the age of 22 he and an uncle invested in a restaurant on Main Street known as Novins Restaurant which Ben Novins and his wife Ethel owned and managed for ten years. He later became the owner, with his son Judson, of the Benjamin Novins Agency, a real estate and insurance business. During the same time he was elected Justice of the Peace, an office he won five times until the Justice of the Peace system was eliminated through legislation in 1957. He then took over as Municipal Magistrate, an office to which he was appointed for seven three-year terms serving almost forty years.

In 1936, Judge Novins was elected president of the Toms River Community of Jewish Farmers which is now Temple Beth Shalom. During World War II, he served as chairman of the Ocean County National War Fund for four years. He also took part in the founding of the Congregation B'Nai Israel and served as a member of the Board of Directors for many years and was recognized for his building and fund raising efforts.

In 1962, he was asked to join the Board of Directors of the First National Bank, a position he still holds in 1989 at the age of 90.

Judge Novins has been recognized many times for his community service. He has been honored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews; received the B'Nai Brith award; and most recently was honored by 140 area business and community leaders. He was presented a sculpture entitled "Crown of a Good Name" in honor of his accomplishments and humanitarianism. He was cited by the Ocean County Bar Association for his good work as a magistrate; the Police Benevolent Associations; State of Israel for the sale of Israel Bonds; and the United States Army - "Operation Understanding" - visiting Army installations throughout the United States.

The Novins' family has also been honored by the appointment in 1962 of their son Robert F. Novins to Judge of the County Court.

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