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Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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Whenever Jews in the New York/New Jersey region experience foul play aimed at their Jewish identity, their safety or their support of Israel, one group that can be counted on to step up to the plate and defend their rights is the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s skilled staff enlists teams of communal leaders to field the challenges and often pitches their response in a way that most effectively out-hits and out-runs the opposition.

With such a well-earned standing, it’s no surprise then that the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Eastern Region’s Heroes for Tolerance event will be held this year in two private suites at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, August 21.

The honorees at the 2022 Heroes for Tolerance event are:

  • Joseph Decotiis, co-managing partner—Decotiis, Fitzpatrick, Cole & Giblin, LLP;
  • Michael Decotiis, co-managing partner—Decotiis, Fitzpatrick, Cole & Giblin, LLP;
  • Samip “Sam” Joshi, Mayor of Edison, New Jersey;
  • Rivkie Feiner, CEO of Feiner Grant Strategies and board member of the Jewish Federation of Rockland;
  • Ky Kumar, executive chairman of the Indian American International Chamber of Commerce;
  • Thomas Sullivan, vice-chair, Board of Bergen County Commissioners.

For the second consecutive year, this event is chaired by Charles Everhardt’s Veteran Services USA, an organization dedicated to providing resources to U.S. veterans. Everhardt has long been a proud supporter of the Wiesenthal Center’s critical work in combating antisemitism.

Thomas Sullivan has served on the Bergen County Board of County Commissioners since 2015 and is currently the vice chair of that body. He was previously elected to the city councils of both Bergenfield and Montvale, demonstrating that each of the cities he resided in have recognized his indispensable leadership. In 2021, Sullivan was nominated by Governor Murphy and subsequently confirmed by the New Jersey State Senate to serve on the New Jersey Healthcare Facilities Finance Authority. He also serves as president of the IBEW Local Union #164, based in Paramus.

Sullivan told The Jewish Link: “For decades I have tried to use the positions I hold, both as a Bergen County commissioner and as a labor leader, to be a unifier, and to show the diverse communities of our region how we truly are all stronger together. When tragedy strikes, through union personnel we can help people of all backgrounds rebuild their homes and lives with dignity—it shows the beauty of our diversity and the benefits of a caring society—and that is the best way to combat the rising hate and antisemitism we unfortunately see around us. I am truly humbled by this recognition and can think of no greater honor than to be designated as a Hero for Tolerance by the renowned Simon Wiesenthal Center.”

Sam Joshi, the first-generation son of immigrants, currently serves as the mayor of Edison, the fifth-largest municipality in the state. He had previously been elected to the Edison Town Council at the age of 27, making him the youngest elected official in the township’s history. He also served at the Edison Police Central Command, directing first responders on 911 calls, and served for five years on the Fair Rental Housing Authority Board and the Edison Zoning Board. When the COVID pandemic began and hateful racial and religious bias was expressed, Joshi actively met with Jewish leaders from across the state to correct the offensive and false narratives, authored opinion pieces defending the Jewish community, and even stood up to his political colleagues when necessary to combat hateful stereotypes.

Joshi shared, “It is such an honor to receive this award and be counted among leaders who are actively fighting discrimination of all kinds. The Simon Wiesenthal Center is a force for good in our world and I’m proud to represent my wonderfully diverse community of Edison Township at Yankee Stadium in August.”

Rivkie Feiner has served in leadership positions at Feiner Grant Strategies (FGS) for over 25 years and as CEO for nine years. FSG assists nonprofit and for-profit organizations to secure funding from government, foundations, corporations and donors. She has been a panelist in forums on government and foundation funding at the annual President’s Conference of Torah Umesorah—National Society of Hebrew Day Schools, the USAID conference in Washington, D.C., Agudath Israel’s lay leader conclaves and the Jewish Women’s Entrepreneur conference.

“I am both humbled and honored to have been chosen to be an award recipient at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Heroes for Tolerance event,” Feiner said. “I’ve seen this organization step up time and again to call out and fight antisemitism, which is currently rampant worldwide. As an Orthodox resident of Rockland County and one who supports—both in voice and in deed—this fight, I am particularly grateful for the enormous efforts Michael Cohen and the Simon Wiesenthal Center have expended trying to reign in the hatred that is spreading. I am proud to lend my name and support to this vital and very worthy cause.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is a Jewish global human rights organization that confronts antisemitism, hate and terrorism; promotes human rights and dignity; stands with Israel; defends the safety of Jews worldwide; and teaches the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations. The Center established its Eastern Region office in New York City over three decades ago, and now has a constituency of over 100,000 member families in the tri-state area. The Wiesenthal Center continues to be funded by the New York City Council to provide its Combat Hate workshops in public middle and high schools throughout the city, training tens of thousands of local students every year, and was recently awarded $1.5 million by the NY State Assembly to develop its Mobile Museum of Tolerance providing enhanced cultural sensitivity and tolerance training in the region. At the same time the Center’s Courage to Remember exhibition to increase Holocaust education has recently been acquired by several municipalities, including Tenafly.

Admission to the event can be secured at the following levels: Ticket @ $1,000, Host @ $2,500, Sponsor @ $5,000, and Benefactor @ $10,000. The Simon Wiesenthal Center is pleased to welcome Ambassador Asaf Zamir, Consul General of Israel in New York, who will offer greetings at this event.

To register for the Heroes for Tolerance event, or for more information, call Liz at 212-697-1180 or send an email to
[email protected].

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