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Bergen Community Responds to Synagogue Firebombing

Lawmakers, Community Activists, Religious Leaders Stand in ‘United Opposition’ to Hate and Violence

RUTHERFORD – In response to the latest attack on a synagogue in Bergen County, in which Molotov cocktails were thrown at Congregation Beth El in Rutherford, putting the congregation’s rabbi and his family in danger, several elected and religious leaders issued the following joint statement to express their opposition to the acts of hate and violence being perpetrated against the Jewish community in Bergen:

“We wish to express, in the clearest terms possible, that any attack on a house of worship in Bergen County is an attack on everyone in Bergen County. The violent attacks on synagogues in Rutherford, Paramus, Maywood and Hackensack should be condemned by people of good conscience of every faith and every walk of life who are more interested in spreading peace and love rather than hate and fear. The perpetrators of these violent acts have to be brought to justice, and we will do whatever we can to help the law enforcement community bring an end to the violence in our home county.

“As we celebrate the life and teachings of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today, let’s remember his famous quote while imprisoned in Birmingham, Alabama – ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ The violent acts being perpetrated against Jewish houses of worship are a threat to the sanctity of spiritual freedom that we enjoy as American citizens.

“We stand in united opposition to those who would seek to do harm to religious leaders of any denomination, or to those who would seek to target individuals based on their race, religion, creed, gender, or ethnicity. Bergen County has a long and proud tradition as a melting pot of diversity, and our differences contribute to making the tapestry of the New Jersey experience all the richer.

“To the individual or individuals responsible for the attacks on synagogues in Bergen County – your terroristic acts will not break the bond of community we share. You may be able to damage some buildings, but rather than sow division, you have bred unity. You will be caught, and you will be held accountable for your crimes.”

The following leaders have signed on to this statement:

Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer

District 36
Assemblywoman Marlene Caride

District 36

Senator Paul A. Sarlo

District 36
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg

District 37

Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson

District 37
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle

District 37

Assemblyman Timothy J. Eustace

District 38
Assemblywoman Connie Wagner

District 38

Senator Bob Gordon

District 38
Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi

District 39

Assemblyman Robert Schroeder

District 39
Senator Gerald Cardinale

District 39

Assemblyman David C. Russo

District 40
Assemblyman Scott t. Rumana

District 40

Senator Kevin J. O’Toole

District 40
Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli

Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office

Rabbi Neal Borovitz

Temple Adovat Shalom, River Edge
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

Congregation B’nai Yeshurun, Teaneck

Rabbi Chaim Shapiro

Congregation K’hal Adath Jeshurun, Paramus
Rabbi Larry Rothwachs

Congregation Beth Aaron, Teaneck

Dr. Meer Safdar Ali, President

Minhaj Ul Quaran Education & Cultural Center, Hackensack
Dr. Shakeel Khan, President

Darul Islah Islamic Center, Teaneck

Waheed Khalid

Member, Board of Trustees

American Muslim Union, Leonia
Reverend John Spencer

First Baptist Church of Englewood, Englewood

Reverend Dr. Vernon C. Walton

Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Englewood
Reverend Dr. Lester W. Taylor Jr.

Community Baptist Church, Englewood

Reverend Gregory Jackson

Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Hackensack
Pastor, Dr. M. Frances Manning-Fontaine

New Hope Baptist Church, Hackensack

Reverend Donald M. Pitches, President

Bergen Council of Churches

First Presbyterian Church, Carlstadt.