May 30, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

NJJBA Honors NJ Elected Officials

Sen. Robert Menendez speaks at the NJJJBA luncheon.

One way to measure the reach and impact of a Jewish communal organization is by the caliber of people they bring into the room for their events.

By that measure, the New Jersey Jewish Business Alliance (NJJBA) demonstrated conclusively at their recent 2023 Legislative and Business Luncheon that they have forged meaningful connections with a number of high-profile leaders in the state.

The luncheon, held in the ballroom of the Best Western Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, attracted dozens of respected Jewish business members, a variety of elected officials on the municipal and state level, and others who admire the work of NJJBA.

Leaders of major businesses in the state were prominently featured in the luncheon program, with welcomes and speaker introductions made by Ezra Friedlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group; Nachum Segal of the Nachum Segal Network; Eric Margules, CEO of Margules Properties; Jessica Israel, M.D., chief medical and innovation officer of Complete Care Management; and Josephine Savastano, chief banking officer of Valley Bank. The luncheon was sponsored by Royal Wine Corp., United Airlines, Sills Cummins & Gross P.C., Fabuwood Cabinetry, Complete Care Management, Catchmaster, Bern & Associates, and Hackensack Meridian Health.

Emcee Nachum Segal at the NJJBA luncheon.

The luncheon also featured several prominent political leaders who attended to connect with luncheon attendees and support the work of NJJBA. Congressman Tom Kean Jr. (R-N.J.) said, “Community is the backbone of any healthy and vibrant community.” He highlighted communal concerns such as state support for family life, affordability, religious freedom, fighting antisemitism, and deterring BDS. He also said that he understands the unique needs of Jewish businesses and is committed to removing barriers to their growth. He also spoke about a trip he took in the spring to Israel, his third visit there, and stated: “We must do everything we can to protect Israel in its time of need.”

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin received the Excellence in Leadership Award from NJJBA. He stated: “I’m proud to partner with the New Jersey Jewish Business Alliance to grow our business community,” and added, “from small mom and pop stores, to multinational corporations, the state is filled with so many Jewish affiliated businesses.” He spoke about “the obligation of the state to fight antisemitism when it creeps in” and discussed state initiatives designed to improve the economic climate, such as the new StayNJ legislation that offers incentives to retired seniors to remain in the state, and a new $11 billion incentive program to attract businesses. He urged all attendees to “be a cheerleader for our state” and pointed out that New Jersey is currently ranked by CNBC as the 19th best state for business with unemployment at a historically low level.

NJJBA Executive Director David Rosenberg, left, with New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.

Elizabeth Maher Muoio, New Jersey state treasurer, spoke about the state of the economy and highlighted the state’s favorable credit ratings and heightened efforts to make payments to the New Jersey state employees pension plans.

Sen. Bob Menendez offered the keynote address and stated that NJJBA “is doing vital work to foster connections and encourage tailored solutions to communal needs.” He spoke briefly about a few of his legislative initiatives, including his sponsorship of federal security grants for nonprofit organizations and his work to deter large bank mergers and consolidations, asserting that small businesses benefit much more from local banks that know community residents.

Attendees at the luncheon who spoke with The Jewish Link found the luncheon very worthwhile.

New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin speaks at the NJJBA luncheon.

Rob Zuckerman, the economic development director of East Brunswick, said: “It’s important to foster relationships with the business community throughout the state and NJJBA does a wonderful job of bringing people together.”

Martin Sabo of EPC in Teaneck shared that it was his first time at the luncheon and attended on the advice of a friend who regularly attends. He indicated that he was very happy that he showed up.

Andrew Gross, executive director of the New Jersey Israel Commission, said: “I’ve attended NJJBA events over the years because the Jewish business community is a backbone of our state’s economy. The partnership our state has with Israel has created a tremendous amount of jobs and investment in Israel since Gov. Murphy took office. It is always a privilege to spend time with friends in the New Jersey Jewish business community.”

New Jersey Rep. Tom Kean Jr. speaks at the NJJBA luncheon.

Former mayor and current council member in Morris Township, Jeff Grayzel, an engineer and product development manager, related, “I’m here to represent the business interests of Morris Township” and he finds NJJBA events “a great place to network, because we are all interested in seeing New Jersey grow economically.” He mentioned that Morris Township is now the proud home of the New Jersey Red Bulls soccer team and will serve as one of the host sites for the 2026 World Cup in the New Jersey/New York area.

Joel Appel, of Appel & Co. Life Insurance, remarked that “NJJBA events are a good place to meet people who are mission driven and may be interested in charitable giving and legacy planning,” which are areas in which his company specializes.

In his address at the opening of the luncheon, NJJBA Executive Director David Rosenberg spoke about the growth of the group over the past year. He mentioned the inaugural Middlesex County networking event held in mid-June and plans for a similar event in Union County on Aug. 16. He stated to the statewide elected officials in attendance, “We are your partners in fighting hunger in New Jersey, by helping to create jobs and more jobs here.”

New Jersey Rep. Tom Kean Jr., left, with Mark Levenson at the NJJBA luncheon.

For more information on NJJBA, visit www.njjba.com


Harry Glazer is the Middlesex County editor for The Jewish Link. He can be reached at [email protected]

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