May 24, 2024
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The Jewish Community Responds With Strength

I want to thank the Teaneck Police Department, the Bergen County Sheriff, as well as law enforcement personnel from other jurisdictions who did a great job on Monday night, April 1, managing a potentially difficult situation at the ZAKA event at Congregation Bnai Yeshurun.

It is unfathomable to me that anyone would be so offended by an event in support of heroic first responders, who literally clean up body parts after the most horrific bombings imaginable, who have dispatched to many other countries to perform their holy work, and who worked tirelessly for weeks in the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas attack. It is clear that the motivation of the outsiders who came to Teaneck to protest Monday night, who maliciously slowed traffic on Route 4 on Sunday, and who have harassed us every week for several months, has nothing to do with the war in the Middle East. To avoid confusion caused by those with an expansive, literal definition of the term, I won’t even use the word antisemitism. The motivation is Jew hatred. For some people, hate is bad unless it’s hate of Jews.

On April 1, the Jewish community of Teaneck said, “Enough! No more!” After six months of purposely minimal response, the community decided to respond in a classy, non-violent way.

No one will prevent Jews from engaging in day-to-day activities.

No one will restrict Jews from exercising their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, assembly and religion.

No one will drive Jews out of Teaneck like Jews were driven out of practically every country in the world at some point over the last two millennia.

It is telling that American flags were flown only on one side, while the other side flew flags of organizations identified by the U.S. government as terrorist groups.

One side cursed and ranted and spit. The other side sang and danced and prayed.

One side had a permit. The other did not.

We’ve been dealing with this garbage for long enough.

The presence and support of our non-Jewish friends and neighbors at Bnai Yeshurun was truly appreciated, as were the strong statements from council members and other public officials. I look forward to even more support going forward.

In the mid-60s, Teaneck was an inspirational model to the rest of the country, the first municipality in America to integrate schools. What has happened to us? Let us pledge to work together to bring amity and civility back to our town.

Yitzchak Hollander
Teaneck
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