Martin Raffel’s “Wishing shame on on Us,” (Feb. 7) highlights the growing concern in the Jewish community as acts of anti-Semitism increase in the state, across the nation, and worldwide. The concern is real and increasing awareness within our community of the challenge we face combatting bigotry and hatred is certainly meritorious as Raffel points out in highlighting actions to do just that in New Jersey.
The resources in the Jewish community meeting the challenge daily are varied, but Raffel omitted, and disappointingly so, that New Jersey’s Jewish federations are intimately involved with victimized community members and with preparedness and response activities to address acts of anti-Semitism and violence. The federations have built strong relationships with local law enforcement as evidenced by the efficient response of both the institution and law enforcement to recent JCC bomb threats. And those threats have served to strengthen the precautionary protocols and relations with law enforcement.
The issue of community security is, and continues to be, a high priority for all the federations. To have omitted in the article any reference to the federations and the emphasis they have place on community safety and preparedness is a glaring oversight.
Raffel mentions the “Stand Up for the Other” pledge programs, but should have included that they were a result of the logistical and advocacy support of the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations as lead coordinator for the events. The State Association is the government affairs and community relations arm of the Jewish federations in the state. As a statewide representative, the State Association is a founding member of the NJ Interfaith Coalition. The State Association and its federations’ community relations network also led the advocacy effort on a number of legislative measures over the years to condemn anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.
Gordon Haas, president
NJ State Association of Jewish Federations