April 12, 2024
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April 12, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Dear Teaneck Council Members,

Teaneck is in crisis and her residents are hurting. We are confused and unsure what happens next. We are attacked because of who we are and where we are. Our freedom to freely gather and express ourselves has been challenged with scandalous and libelous claims. We no longer feel safe in our homes. But this is noise.

I fully accept that many may never agree on the various geopolitical and other differences in which we are embroiled. We are all human with our own experiences and systems of belief that shape who we are as individuals and as a community. It is a shame that there are many who lack a certain depth and thrive on creating the rift that nurtures hatred and transforms friends into foes. But this is noise.

When a member of council welcomed and championed the agitators, she embraced all who came with them. This includes the Nazi sympathizers and those cheering hateful, bigoted, antisemitic slogans. They were welcomed into our town. They were urged to demonstrate. While their speech may be protected, they should be shunned and rejected. You may not agree with the individuals, but they came with the group. But this is noise.

You swore to support the Constitution of the United States and that of the state of New Jersey when you ascended to your leadership positions. As stated in Article 1 of the New Jersey Constitution: “All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.” You have an obligation to defend us, protect our property and ensure our safety. The safety of the entire community.

I implore all members of council to join together and make a statement standing up for your neighbors, your constituents, who continue to be threatened, assaulted and harassed in their community and homes. Denounce the rhetoric and hate speech. You, with your life experiences, don’t get to tell us what is antisemitism. We have seen this language and activity pattern before and know how it plays out. It doesn’t end well. March with us. Sing with us. Pray with us. Mourn with us. Grow with us. I hope and pray that this is the first small step in healing our great Teaneck community.

Lastly, ask yourselves why we do not see the same happening in other communities. Is it because they are welcomed here or are dissuaded from going there? I hope hate has not found a home here.

Avi Berliner

Teaneck

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