July 23, 2024
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An Open Letter to Deputy Mayor Gee, Councilwoman Belcher and Councilwoman Goldberg

Deputy Mayor Gee and Councilwoman Belcher, I voted for you both. I voted down the line: Belcher, Gee, Goldberg and Young, because I believed you. I believed you when you said you would unite the town and eliminate the political divisiveness of the past. All I see is political divisiveness from you two. You are no different than what you accused the incumbents of. I handed out letters to the Jewish community urging them to support you. I still support the message and goals of RISE for Teaneck, but the only people I see following them are Councilwoman Goldberg and Chondra Young, who should be sitting in one of your seats. I see council members who ran against each other working together, despite their differences, for the greater good for all of Teaneck. Thank you, Councilwoman Goldberg, Councilman Schwartz, Councilwoman Orgen and Mayor Pagan for leading by example.

Your treatment of the Jewish community had been abhorrent, and just when it couldn’t get any worse, we watched the October 17 meeting in horror, as a grieving community was forced to defend itself when outside agitators came chanting for the death of Jews, only amplified by the RISE for Teaneck campaign manager, who also happens to be married to one of you. Meeting after meeting, you enable, you throw your colleagues under the bus, and your willful disregard at the immense pain Councilwoman Goldberg, your running mate, is clearly feeling, as she was brought to tears last meeting, does not go unnoticed. Your willful disregard of antisemitism has made it so we are not safe.

Councilwoman Belcher, your behavior at the last meeting has put tens of thousands of Teaneck residents’ safety at risk, and a religious institution at risk for vandalism. You promised to support Jews. Did that only apply if they were Jewish Voices for Peace? You do not support Jews in any way, and your willful disregard makes you an outright antisemite.

Deputy Mayor Gee, you do not earn that title. Your political posturing to pretend not to take a side shows you are not that good of an actress. Your behavior at the advisory board of community relations meeting tells the board, an advisory board to council, that the antisemitism at meetings is simply things people disagree with but is not hate speech. As I have seen Councilwoman Goldberg say on her social media, do not tell Jews what is or isn’t antisemitism. The council should remove you as liaison and replace you with Councilwoman Orgen.

To Councilwoman Goldberg, thank you. Thank you for standing up against terror, against hate, against antisemitism. We watched as your voters told you they would never vote for you again. I voted for you, I will vote for you again and you will have the support of the entire Jewish community. We see the pain you are experiencing; we hear the hurt and betrayal in your words. We will never forget what you have done for us, and continue to do for us, and we will be there for you. Teaneck is lucky to have you as a leader of our community, and when history is told, you will be forever known as a hero in Teaneck Jewish history. This women’s history month, I celebrate Councilwoman Hillary Goldberg.

To the rabbanim and shul presidents, I call for Councilwoman Goldberg to be honored for her bravery and courage. She did not just stand for the community on one night, she has done so every day, even in the face of danger and backlash and clear hurt and pain.

Chaim Rappaport
Teaneck
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