May 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Jewish Leadership and Organizations Are Failing the Jewish Community

As seen throughout the March 4 edition of the Jewish Link, the despicable SNL anti-Semitic joke has brought out a storm of outrage from all manner of Jewish organizations. However, I think Stephen Flatow’s column, “The ‘Saturday Night Live’ Joke Is the Wrong Issue,” (March 4, 2021) has the better overall perspective on the much wider role Jewish organizations should really be playing in combating anti-Semitism and supporting Jews here, in Israel, and around the world.

Unfortunately, many local and national Jewish leaders, organizations and traditionally Jewish-supporting groups have in recent years abdicated their responsibility to their Jewish brethren and in politically motivated moves, have joined forces with the left-leaning intersectional, woke-spouting groups, many of which are actually openly anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. It is an even sadder fact that for those of us who have been observing it, this trend has been going on for a number of years now, without notice—or worse, open support—of the greater Jewish community. In a letter printed in the Jewish Link on Nov. 15, 2018, after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, I wrote:

The Jewish community itself was also badly divided before Pittsburgh. There were the radical far-left J Street on one end of the spectrum, the more mainstream organizations like ADL, HIAS, and Reform and Conservative groups somewhere closer to the middle, but still decidedly left-leaning, and the Orthodox community further to the right. While most of these expressed anguish at the Pittsburgh event, there is little evidence that any of them will be changing their policies. Even worse, according to published reports, the Jewish Federations of North America which is as mainstream as any Jewish organization should be, will be holding their upcoming general assembly conference in Tel Aviv, rather than Jerusalem where it has always held them. This presumably to show their displeasure for the otherwise historic U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem.”

At about the same time, we in the relatively small Highland Park-Edison-East Brunswick Jewish community were involved in a struggle with Rutgers University and a local library on anti-Semitic issues and also on anti-BDS resolutions. These were also covered in the Jewish Link. We were given virtually no open support by any local or national leaders or groups, except for a few brave individuals, and exposure in the Jewish Link itself.

Since then, the situation has not gotten any better, and except for occasional outbursts on tangential issues, shows no signs of doing so in the near future. This does not bode well for our communities.

Max Wisotsky
Highland Park
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