March 21, 2024

Greater MetroWest Goes to Trenton

Linda Scherzer JCRC Director

As we arrived at the vast War Memorial in Trenton, dedicated to the soldiers and sailors who died in World War 1, I was struck by the majesty and history of the 93-year-old building, its pillars and art museum, long ago added to the National Registry of Historic Places. It was here that our 25-person delegation of Jewish communal leaders and professionals kicked off State Day, New Jersey’s celebration of our Jewish Federation’s 100-year anniversary.

“This historic milestone for our Jewish Federation honors 100 years of building community and being an integral part of the great state of New Jersey,” said Centennial Chair Jane Wilf.

For all of us who made the journey to Trenton, it was an incredibly proud moment.

Joined by Governor Phil Murphy and Attorney General Matt Platkin, we were honored for our contributions to civil society; our role in strengthening Jewish community; and our efforts to help New Jerseyans of all faiths and ethnicities impacted by catastrophic storms, Covid, and food insecurity.

“From feeding families across New Jersey to supporting our senior citizens, Federation plays a critical role in helping our Jewish community amidst the rise of antisemitism,” said Governor Murphy.

Acknowledging the disturbing rise of antisemitism, particularly over the last five and a half months, both the governor and attorney general gave us strong assurances that our elected officials, law enforcement, and state government are behind us.

In her remarks, JCRC Chair Jody Hurwitz Caplan thanked our state officials, adding that “at a time when many in our community have felt isolated, embattled, and pained by the rise of antisemitic hate, we are deeply grateful for your leadership and friendship.”

Later that day, from seats in the Assembly Visitors’ Gallery, we were honored to watch Centennial Chair Jane Wilf, Federation President Michael Goldberg, JCRC Chair Jody Caplan, and JCF President Steve Levy receive a proclamation on the floor of the Assembly, honoring 100 years of building community, being an integral part of the state of New Jersey, and proudly contributing to its growth and development.

Adding to the significance of the day, the four legislators who made the presentation were the assemblymen and woman who joined our Legislators and Educators Mission to Israel in January: Assemblywoman Rosy Bagolie and Assemblymen Reginald Atkins, Mike Inganamort, and Gary Schaer.

For a century, said Schaer, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ has been the heart and soul of a dynamic Jewish community in Essex, Morris, Union, Sussex, and Somerset counties: building our institutions, strengthening our community’s security, and building bridges to people of all faiths and ethnicities to create a healthy civil society.

Federation President Michael Goldberg responded with these words: We are grateful to this state, and to the country in which we live, for the freedoms that have been afforded to us over the last century and the opportunities to build strong, secure and thriving Jewish communities.

As proud Americans and New Jersey residents, it gives us tremendous pride to have contributed to the growth and prosperity of our state, and to work in common cause with our neighbors to create a better future for all New Jerseyans.

We look forward to the next 100 years, as we pass the torch to our children and grandchildren, with the hope that our place in American society continues to grow and thrive and become more safe and secure. And we hope that Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, which has done so much to support our people these last 100 years as the state’s largest Jewish philanthropy, continues to go from strength to strength.

See more photos from Centennial State Day.