Exactly four weeks ahead of New Jersey’s election day, November 2, Governor Phil Murphy showed up on Tuesday to campaign for re-election in the heart of Teaneck. At two back-to-back events, Governor Murphy shared his vision for both the local Jewish community and the entire state of New Jersey.
At the first event, community leaders were welcomed to the courtyard of Sender’s on West Englewood Avenue, thanks in part to the efforts of Deputy Mayor of Teaneck Elie Y. Katz, who coordinated a meeting for governor with local businesses, yeshiva heads, elected officials and lay leaders; Moshe Kinderlehrer, publisher of The Jewish Link, then brought local entrepreneurs and non-profit leaders together to meet with the governor.
“This is an opportunity in terms of hakarat hatov for the governor,” said Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic), who accompanied Governor Murphy on the campaign swing. Schaer outlined exactly what it is that the Jewish community was grateful for—Governor Murphy’s response to antisemitic incidents and his advocacy for funding security and additional expenses for day schools and yeshivas, making the point that Governor Murphy has been an integral part of ensuring the Jewish future in the state of New Jersey. Some impressive statistics included a dramatic rise in funding to private and parochial schools, up over $41 million since the governor took office.
Governor Murphy opened his speech by mentioning some of the notable attendees in the crowd, including Mike Maron, the CEO of Holy Name Hospital, the Mayor of Teaneck Jim Dunleavy, and several local Jewish communal leaders.
He continued by “dialing the clock back a little further” and explaining why he feels such a strong connection to the Jewish community. During his time as United States Ambassador to Germany, Governor Murphy observed “ground zero” of the horrific antisemitism that occurred during the 20th century. “Sadly, antisemitism is still present on both sides of the Atlantic. The impetus, therefore, is to put our money where our mouth is and fund security for private schools and religious institutions.”
The governor elaborated that his observance of antisemitism on the ground has fostered his “deep passion and commitment” to developing a relationship with the State of Israel, adding that many of New Jersey’s institutions are participating in an educational exchange with their Israeli counterparts.
Governor Murphy also emphasized why he wants a second term, noting the work that he feels still needs to be done. “We inherited too many challenges to claim that after not even four years that we’ve finished the job. But it’s a big reason I’m running again.”
The governor and his team then walked up West Englewood Avenue and turned onto Queen Anne Road, as community members stopped him for photo opportunities.
Hosted by The Jewish Link at Mocha Bleu, Governor Murphy was welcomed by several local business owners and community movers and shakers. Co-publishers Moshe Kinderlehrer and Mark “Mendy” Schwartz (who also serves as a Teaneck deputy mayor) gave introductory remarks, including Kinderlehrer’s recollection that since taking office, Governor Murphy has appeared on the newspaper’s cover “at least five times...in a good way,” specifically because of important work that benefitted New Jersey’s Jewish community. Then candidate-Murphy’s last meeting at The Jewish Link five years ago was memorable in that Governor Murphy answered questions for two hours, and then asked many of his own, specifically about the needs and priorities of Northern New Jersey’s Jewish community.
Governor Murphy spent a few minutes sharing how important he holds Teaneck in terms of the role the greater local community plays within New Jersey.
“This is the fourth-largest Jewish community of any state, and the second-largest per capita,” he said. “No matter how you slice it, this is one of the most important communities in our state.”
Governor Murphy then took the time to speak with several local nonprofit leaders and entrepreneurs about their concerns, smiled for the camera and then made his way out to his next stop in Englewood.