The following update was originally sent by Jeff Schwartz, President, Jewish Federation in the Heart of NJ, and Keith Krivitzky, CEO, on Sunday, October 28, 2018, following the tragedy in Pittsburgh.
Our hearts go out to the Jewish community of Pittsburgh and to the families of those community members and law enforcement officers killed or wounded.
Sadly, acts of anti-semitism and violence have become all too common in our society.
We want to share with you a listing of vigils and memorial services taking place throughout our community, which you can find through this link and copied below.
While this is a time to mourn and to show solidarity with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh, we also want to report to you on what the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey has done to make our communities more prepared and secure.
1. Since this tragedy, we have been in touch directly with the County Prosecutors in both Middlesex and Monmouth counties - our chief law enforcement officers - who are working with local police departments to increase presence and patrols at synagogues. The NJ State Police is also involved. We want to thank our partners in law enforcement and elected officials for being proactive in working with us to enhance our community's security - and we want to acknowledge that Governor Phil Murphy, with whom we just spent time in Israel, was the first official to reach out directly following this incident.
We are already planning further follow up with the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and the Attorney General's office on what can be done to maintain and expand the presence and protection given to Jewish community institutions and organizations.
2. In the past 3 years, your Jewish Federation has made security preparedness a priority. This has included the creation of a Security Task Force, whose members have helped dozens of local partners with security assessments and safety recommendations. One result - 50 local partners have received grants from the United States Department of Homeland Security, the NJ State Department of Homeland Security - as well as directly from the Jewish Federation. We have also conducted numerous trainings for synagogue and Jewish organizational staff and volunteers.
3. Looking ahead, and especially following this tragedy, we will be expanding our training and emergency planning/response efforts - for leaders as well as for individuals in our community.
With all that, we want to share two concluding thoughts:
- While we are grieving with our extended Jewish family in Pittsburgh, we also need to show our resilience and determination in the face of those who hate and want us to be afraid. That is why we are going to continue to grow our programs in the community and expand opportunities to express pride in our Jewish traditions, culture and family. Many synagogues and temples will be designating this coming Shabbat as an opportunity to show solidarity with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh; we encourage you to show up and share in the strength of our Jewish community.
- The Jewish Federation is uniquely positioned to convene our community and respond in times of crisis - and, make no mistake, anti-Semitism today is a crisis. We make a critical difference through security preparedness, as well as countering incidents of hate locally when they occur. Your support helps make this possible: www.jewishheartnj.org/protect.
Should you have any additional questions, concerns, or suggestions, please feel free to reach out directly. And may our combined efforts help reduce these displays of hate and intolerance in our communities.
Jeff Schwartz, President
Keith Krivitzky, CEO
The Federation is proud to support our community partners in promoting vigils throughout Monmouth and Greater Middlesex counties. For details and more services, visit http://jewishheartnj.org/pittsburgh.
Congregation Neve Shalom, Metuchen - 6:30 PM
6:30 Sunday night, being co-hosted by the Metuchen Edison Interfaith Area Clergy Association, First Presbyterian Church of Metuchen, and Temple Emanu-el.
Masjid-e- Ali, Somerset - 5:30 PM
5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at located at 47 Cedar Grove Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873. Dr. Asghar Kharazi, Director at Masjid-e-Ali and Co-Founder of the NJ Interfaith Coalition, extends the invitation to all who can attend a vigil to remember and express our sorrows for the victims of shooting in Tree of Life Synagogue and reaffirm our commitment to reject any form of hate and bigotry.
Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple, New Brunswick -- 7:00 PM
We will be hosting a vigil here at AEMT (222 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick) at 7pm tonight. We will also be holding clergy hours for those who want to come in and talk on Monday from 3:30 - 7:15.
Highland Park Conservative Temple, Highland Park -- 7:30 PM
Will be hosting a prayer service after the Maariv Evening Service.
Central NJ NCSY and Congregation Ahavas Achim, Highland Park -- 8:00 PM
Hosting a memorial service with prayer and tehillim in Highland Park, 216 S 1stAvenue.
Congregation B'nai Tikvah, North Brunswick -- 7:00 PM
Special service of solidarity and healing to remember the victims of the Tree of Life in Pittsburgh
Monmouth Reform Temple, Tinton Falls - 6:30 PM
We will pray for healing. We will pray for strength. We will pray to turn our anger over what is into a force that will leave no person untouched by our commitment to love and embrace each other into a world that should be; a world that must be, a world of peace.
Congregation B'nai Israel, Rumson - 7:30 PM
At times of tragedy such as these we stand as one at a memorial gathering of prayer, solidarity, and support.
Monroe Township Senior Center, Monroe - 6:00 PM
Congregation Beit Shalom of Monroe Township is spearheading an interfaith vigil in support of the Pittsburgh community at the Monroe Township Senior Center. Mayor Tamburro and religious leaders will attend to unite our community against anti-Semitism, hate, and violence. Doors open at 5:30.
Marlboro Jewish Center - 7:30PM
Prayer service before Maariv Evening Service