April 21, 2024
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Harris Laufer Joins Jewish Federations of NJ as Director

(Courtesy of JFNJ) Harris Laufer has been hired to lead Jewish Federations of New Jersey (JFNJ). In his role, he will advocate on behalf of JFNJ and the Jewish community on issues such as combating antisemitism, the security and safety of our communities, support for the State of Israel and adequate social service support.

“Now more than ever, the voices of the Jewish community in our state need to be heard,” said Laufer. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen a staggering rise in antisemitism over the last few years. I’m looking forward to joining Jewish Federations of New Jersey and working with our partners in state and local government to ensure that New Jersey is a safe place to live.”

“Our relationships with elected officials are critical in ensuring that the issues important to the Jewish community remain on top of our elected officials’ minds,” said Jason M. Shames, CEO, Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey. “Critical issues can range from fighting antisemitism, funding for day schools, safety and security and so much more. We are thrilled to have Harris on our team, and we know his experience and passion for this work will make a difference.”

Prior to joining JFNJ, Laufer served as policy director for Senate President Nicholas P. Scutari. In this role, he was responsible for the senate president’s legislative portfolio, in addition to crafting the New Jersey Senate Democrats’ legislative priorities.

“I’m proud to welcome Harris to this important position. The coordination of our Jewish Federations in New Jersey has never been more important as we look to our key priorities: feeding and taking care of our Holocaust survivors, protecting and securing our institutions, ensuring kosher meals on wheels and so much more. I’m grateful for the leadership of our Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and our Jewish Federation board in continually promoting deeper relationships with our legislative representatives for a healthier, safer and more compassionate community,” said Dov Ben-Shimon, CEO and executive vice-president, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest.

“The work that our five federations do together as The Jewish Federations of New Jersey is key to the Jewish community across the state, while also benefiting anyone in need. Our federation is looking forward to continuing this important work with the help of Harris Laufer’s guidance and experience,” said Robin Wishnie, executive director of Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties.

Laufer brings significant government experience to his role with JFNJ, having worked for the Senate President since 2018 in addition to previously serving as Assemblyman John McKeon’s (LD-27) constituent service aide and as a fellow in Senator Cory Booker’s office.

“Working as part of Jewish Federations of New Jersey has shown that when we speak as one, our voice has the power to make a lasting impact. This has been particularly true when advocating for programs and services that support our community’s needs. We are thrilled to have Harris leading the charge as we continue to collaborate with our advocacy partners to make a positive difference for people of all faiths,” said Susan Antman, executive director, Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey.

“When we work collectively, we are better situated to protect and advocate for the Jewish communities in all of New Jersey,” said Jennifer Weiss, CEO, Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey. “As the need for increased security in our towns continues to rise, it is more important than ever that we speak with a united voice. We are fortunate to have Harris at the helm to help our communities navigate priorities such as the Non-Profit Security Grant Program, and coordinate with Federation Security Directors to keep our institutions and communities safe.

The JFNJ is composed of five Federations: Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, Jewish Federations in the Heart of New Jersey, Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties, and Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey.

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