April 12, 2024
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April 12, 2024
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Hillary Goldberg: ‘We Will Not Stand By and Be Silent’

I am Hillary Goldberg, a member of the Teaneck Township Council. Thank you to my colleagues who are here tonight: Mayor Pagan, Councilman Schwartz and Councilwoman Orgen.

I am a third generation Teaneck resident and as a Jewish woman growing up here, I always felt safe in Teaneck.

My parents were active in the Teaneck Jewish Center that sits on the opposite side of this building; my mother, my grandfather and my uncle all served as presidents of the shul. I went to Solomon Schechter Day School in New Milford and I am a Teaneck High School graduate.

But the Teaneck High School I see today is not the castle on the hill I remember.

October 7th changed our lives, in ways none of us ever could have anticipated. We watched in horror as Hamas terrorists invaded, and brutally murdered, raped, mutilated and kidnapped men, women, children, babies-YES, babies-and the elderly.

As much as the lives of those in Israel changed, so too has it changed us all, here in Teaneck.

Until yesterday, I could never have imagined that I would say the words that I do not feel safe sending my Jewish child to Teaneck High School.

On October 17th, I sat in the building behind us condemning the terrorist group Hamas, as out-of-town protestors were shouting the genocidal chant “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” I was shaking with fear, thinking, these people are calling for our death.

I can’t even imagine what our Jewish students and faculty will feel as they hear this same genocidal chant coming out of the mouths of their peers and students tomorrow.

The Teaneck High School I attended would never allow the school walkout scheduled for tomorrow that has been promoted with a flier stating “Do not stay silent during a genocide.”

The word genocide is a word we all know, because less than 80 years ago the world stayed silent as 6 million Jews were systematically murdered in the Final Solution. Hamas doesn’t care about a two state solution, they only care to perpetuate the same Final Solution. October 7th was just the start.

Rather than the Superintendent and Board of Education sanctioning a Pro-Palestinian walkout, they should use this as an opportunity to educate all students on genocide studies, and teach about misinformation and propaganda and how to identify it.

As the flier calls for out-of-town protestors to join Teaneck High School students at 2:55, what is the Superintendent and Board of Education doing to protect our residents? Our Jewish students? Our Jewish teachers? Will students in this protest be allowed to chant “from the river to the sea?” Do those students even know what that really means? What river? What sea?

I call on Superintendent Dr. Andre Spencer, and Board President Sebastian Rodriguez, Vice President Victoria Fisher, and the entire Board of Education to cancel tomorrow’s protest during school hours and use the day for education and peaceful conversation, and to ensure the safety of our Jewish students and faculty.

Yes, the First Amendment applies to the Teaneck Public Schools. Yet, at the October 18th meeting, outgoing Board President Sebastian Rodriguez and Vice President Victoria Fisher selectively chose to silence Jewish speakers who spoke about the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7th, while ignoring the exact same statements made by pro-Palestinian speakers.

When that same Board of Education allows a student walkout to take place and takes no action, we will not stand by and be silent.

We owe it to the 6 million we lost in the Holocaust and to the 1,200 souls and 240 hostages who Hamas took on October 7th to never again allow the world to stay silent, to educate the next generation, and to say that hate has no home in Teaneck, because Never Again is Now.

Am Israel Chai.

Hilary Goldberg is a Teaneck Town Council member and Teaneck High School graduate.

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