(Courtesy of Simon Wiesenthal Center) On Wednesday, September 1, the Simon Wiesenthal Center held its sixth annual event honoring Heroes for Tolerance at the East Hill Synagogue in Englewood. This event, typically held at Yankee Stadium but moved due to pandemic-related regulations, witnessed a packed house brave the stormy weather to pay tribute to four individuals who have distinguished themselves fighting on the front lines to combat antisemitism and hate.
This year’s honorees included Andrea Bolender, acting executive director, Holocaust Museum & Tolerance Center of Nassau County; Isabella Fiske, business owner and co-founder of the Marc Schonwetter Foundation for Holocaust Education; Tomas Padilla, former Hackensack police chief and Bergen County freeholder and current business administrator of Woodcliff Lake; and Tunisha Walker Miller, former executive director of the NYS Conference of Black Senators and current VP at Capalino & Co.
Also in attendance and presenting the honorees with proclamations and citations was New Jersey State Assembly member Gordon Johnson, NYC Council member Selvena Brooks Powers, Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton and Bergen County Clerk John Hogan.
The event’s guest speaker was Israel’s Acting Consul General for New York Israel Nitzan, who spoke about the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s unique ability to cross cultural and demographic lines in forming coalitions necessary to defend Israel and protect Jewry globally from the rising tide of antisemitism and antisemitic attacks.
Rabbi Meyer H. May, executive director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, spoke about Wiesenthal ‘s upcoming initiatives and redoubled commitment to its mission.
Presenting the honorees’ awards was Simon Wiesenthal Center Eastern Director Michael Cohen, who has tirelessly led the Wiesenthal Center’s efforts on the east coast for years, ensuring that the institutional presence in the tri-state area is one upon which all those pushing back against the growing levels of hate in the region know they can rely.
The event was chaired by Charles Everhardt and his company Veterans Services USA, and was hosted by Polly & Gabriel Bousbib of Englewood.