Rallies Held in East Brunswick and Long Branch
Jewish community leaders joined with politicians and the Jewish community in venting their horror and disgust at the bloody terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel targeting innocent civilians.
A community rally Oct. 9 at East Brunswick Jewish Center drew about 700 people in-person and more than 100 online despite the short notice. With a police presence, including two officers with assault weapons guarding the entrance, and community volunteers checking identification, they recited prayers, donated money and honored those with family and friends serving in the Israel Defense Forces.
It was announced that the Woodbridge-based Marion and Norman Tanzman Charitable Foundation is providing a $50,000 matching grant to the Federation’s Israel Emergency Fund, which was easily matched with an additional $75,000 in donations.
But it was the emotional speeches and statements of support for Israel amid reports of the slaughter and capture of children and the parading of civilian hostages through the streets of Gaza that drew the strongest reaction.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Dist. 6) drew some of the loudest applause of the evening when he declared that “Hamas needs to be taken out as an organization.”
“There is no justification for what Hamas is doing,” he said. “You do not take women and children hostages.”
Pallone said that in response if Israel must occupy Gaza “so be it” and he assured the crowd that the United States would back Israel and provide it with whatever it needs to eliminate the terrorists.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Dist. 12) told the crowd that she was there because “I can’t think of any place I need to be as much as I need to be here.”
She said her “heart aches” and she was in pain for those affected by the violence, for those who had hoped for peace and for those who have friends or relatives in Israel among the missing or dead.
Watson Coleman read a message from Jay Weinstein, the former rabbi of the Young Israel of East Brunswick now living in Israel, in which he described his family huddling in a bomb shelter, including his 99-year-old grandmother.
State Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Dis. 19) said, “We’re here because we’re outraged,” noting, “for generations the Jewish people have faced unimaginable horrors.”
“This is not the act of a warrior, it is abhorrent,” he said and added, “You can’t come up with enough adjectives” to describe the murder and kidnapping of innocent civilians.
East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen recalled the fear that gripped the community in 1973 that Israel wouldn’t make it past its 25th anniversary after the surprise attack that ignited the Yom Kippur War
“But this is not 1973 all over again,” he said. “Israel is a much stronger country.”
Cohen said he would say a misheberach for the safety of the innocent hostages and lamented that “another generation of Jews must pay with their lives to exist with their neighbors.”
Federation Executive Director Susan Antman also registered her “disgust at these barbaric acts” and horror at what was happening as well as “the false moral equivalency of those who hate Israel and Jews.”
She told the crowd she would not stay silent or live in fear and declared: “The Jewish community in the Heart of New Jersey stands in complete solidarity with our beloved Jewish state.”
Those strong words of support for Israel were echoed at a rally held in conjunction with the Federation at the Chabad of the Shore in Long Branch, which drew 500 people and number of state and local leaders, including New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, who voiced her support for Israel, its innocent victims and their families and urged a united fight against terrorism and antisemitism.
Dan Rozett, Federation Director of Community Relations and Israel Engagement and an IDF battle veteran, spoke at both rallies expressing his shock at the depravity of the Hamas actions.
“This attack is unlike anything I have ever seen and I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime,” he said as he described families being burned alive in safe rooms, toddlers being slain and elderly people with dementia being taken hostage.
“It’s time for the gloves to come off,” said Rozett to applause.
Chabad of the Shore Executive Director Rabbi Laibel Schapiro cited the Genesis passage where G-d said, “We should be the light.”
“What G-d said at creation really is the mission for the Jewish people to be a source of goodness and light,” he added. “Israel is a light for the world. Hamas is a source of evil. For 3300 years the Jewish people have overcome the darkness.”
How you can Help
If you want to support Israel please consider the following organizations:
For information on the Monmouth area rallies please visit: https://www.jlifenj.com/solidarity-with-israel/