Program to Confront Rising Bigotry

Central New Jersey civic leaders and clergy Central New Jersey civic leaders and clergy converged on July 6 at Temple Emanu-El in Edison for a program entitled “Confronting Bigotry: Stand Up For The Other.” The evening of songs, speeches, pledges, and prayers began at 7 p.m.

This non-political, interfaith program’s goal is to bring together citizens and leaders in these troubling times when prejudice and hate seem to abound. Attendees pledge to not stand idly by, to confront bigotry, and stand up when they see any group in need.

This program was inspired by a similar program in Hillsborough. Two attendees of that program – Ali Chaudry of the Interfaith Coalition and Rachel Goldstein of Temple Emanu-El – approached Rabbi David Vaisberg, Temple Emanu-El’s rabbi and president of the Metuchen Edison Area Interfaith Clergy Association, about hosting a comparable program. “How could we not?” said Rabbi Vaisberg. “When anyone around us is suffering, it is incumbent upon each of us to do whatever is in our abilities to better their situation.”

In addition to Rabbi Vaisberg, event sponsors included the Interfaith Coalition, the Metuchen Area Interfaith Clergy Association, and the Temple Emanu-El Social Action Committee. Local leaders included Robert Karabinchak, State Assemblyman, 18th District; Tom Lankey, Mayor of Edison; Peter Cammarano, Mayor of Metuchen; Ron Mieczkowski, Deputy Chief of Police, Edison; David S. Leonardis, Training and Outreach Liaison for the Office of the Attorney General, Criminal Division; Rick Cohen, Assistant Superintendent of  Metuchen’s Public Schools; Brian Wolferman, Woodbridge Schools Business Administrator; and a statement presented by Mayor John McCormac of Woodbridge.