Parsippany, NJ — Today, Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) convened community leaders from across the 11th District for a roundtable discussion at Congregation Agudath Israel to discuss how best to confront rising incidents of antisemitism.
In 2020, the Anti-Defamation League recorded 2,024 reported antisemitic incidents throughout the United States, making it the third highest year since they began tracking incidents in 1979. New Jersey reported the second highest number of incidents in ADL’s 2020 report, with 295 reported incidents occurring across the state.
Rep. Sherrill was joined at the roundtable by Rabbi Ari Lucas, Senior Rabbi at Congregation Agudath Israel; Rabbi Samuel Klibanoff, Rabbi at Congregation Etz Chaim; Rabbi Michael Satz, Rabbi at Temple B’nai Or; Oren Segal, Vice President of the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League; Rabbi David Levy, Regional Director at AJC New Jersey, Linda Scherzer, Director of the Community Relations Committee at Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ; Gail Toll, a community member at the Synagogue of the Suburban Torah; and Alexa Smith, a Livingston Resident and recent graduate of the University of Michigan.
“For years, we’ve witnessed a rise in right-wing, violent extremism, including a troubling increase in antisemitism here in New Jersey and across the country. This has shaken members of our community to their core,” said Rep. Sherrill. “I’m grateful that these community leaders came together to discuss how best to confront this rise in antisemitism. The insight and ideas they brought today will be invaluable in our efforts going forward. Whether we’re discussing steps we can take in our schools, at the local level, or through federal legislation, we must do more to make it clear that antisemitism has no place here and that our community will do everything in our power to confront hatred wherever it arises.”
“Combating antisemitism requires a whole of society approach and bold leadership,” said Oren Segal, Vice President of the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League. “We appreciate Congresswoman Sherrill for taking the time to meet with and listen to the community, and value her dedication to finding creative solutions in the fight against antisemites and hate.”
“We pray for a time when the world’s most ancient hatred, antisemitism, will be a thing of the past – when, in the words of our prayerbook, ‘citizens of all races and creeds will forge a common bond in true harmony to banish hatred and bigotry and safeguard the ideals and free institutions that are the pride and glory of our country,’” said Rabbi Ari Lucas, Senior Rabbi at Congregation Agudath Israel. “Until that time, we are grateful for Congresswoman Sherrill’s efforts to listen to the concerns of Jewish constituents and protect the safety and dignity of Jewish communities.”
“We are in a battle against hatred together,” said Rabbi Samuel Klibanoff, Rabbi at Congregation Etz Chaim. “We need unity in the fight against the forces that promote hatred and bigotry. I thank Rep. Sherrill for bringing this group together to discuss how best to defeat them.”
“I think political polarization is creating the atmosphere in America where antisemitism can thrive,” said Rabbi Michael Satz, Rabbi at Temple B’nai Or. “I am heartened by our discussion with the Congresswoman today about ways to address social media’s role in fostering growing hate online that could help us all break out of our echo chambers.”
“We are deeply appreciative of Congresswoman Sherrill’s bringing together AJC and other Jewish community leaders for this important discussion,” said Rabbi David Levy, Regional Director, AJC New Jersey. “She has been an invaluable ally in our efforts to combat the toxic hate that is antisemitism and we look forward to her continued support and partnership.”
“For too long, Jewish students (and others) have been on the front lines of the new antisemitism on college campuses, facing harassment and hostility for their support of Israel,” said Linda Scherzer, Director of the Community Relations Committee at Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. “We’re deeply grateful to Congresswoman Sherrill for listening to our concerns and soliciting ideas from rabbis, Jewish leaders and professionals in our community to combat antisemitism on a federal level.”
“We cannot ignore the most dangerous problems which face our society. We have a duty to raise our voices, invoke positive change through unity and critical legislation to fight hate which seeks to overtake our society,” said Gail Toll, a community member at the Synagogue of the Suburban Torah. “Thank you Congresswoman Sherrill and her entire team for partnering with our community and leading through action!”
“Thank you Congresswoman Sherrill for your unwavering support for the Jewish community and for sponsoring the Holocaust Education Bill,” said Alexa Smith, a Livingston Resident and recent graduate of the University of Michigan. “As a constituent who experienced antisemitism on a college campus, I appreciate your interest in working in a bipartisan effort to support all students at public universities who experience racism or discrimination.”