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Statement of the Coalition of Religious Leaders of New Jersey in response to the hateful acts of violence against the Jewish Faith Communities

October 28, 2018

Bishop James F. Checchio is among those who have endorsed the following statement issued by the Coalition of Religious Leaders of New Jersey in response to the hateful acts of violence against the Jewish faith communities

At this tragic moment in time, an unconscionable act of hatred and evil against members of the Jewish Faith community, we as Religious leaders in the state of New Jersey wish to extend our heartfelt compassion and to stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters and the faith communities that they lead.

We strongly condemn the act of hatred that evoked this senseless act of violence.  We are particularly mindful that such acts toward the Jewish community underscore a long and unfortunate prejudice against a people of great faith.  This was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.  We too are mindful that incidents of anti-Semitism rose 57% in 2017, the largest single year increase on record, and here in New Jersey anti-Semitism incidents in 2017 increased 32%, New Jersey being the third highest in our nation of reported incidents in 2017.

We stand in solidarity with members of the Jewish faith communities, not only in this moment in time but in continuing to affirm that hate crimes toward our Jewish neighbors are hate crimes against all of humanity.  We are committed to fight anti-Semitism and hateful rhetoric.

We call upon all people, especially our elected leaders, especially in this week before a national election, to tone down their divisive and hateful statements that create a tenor of fear and divisiveness in our nation.  We further call upon all federal and state legislators to address the ongoing issue of gun violence, one common denominator in several recent acts of identity-based behavior.  We call for stricter limits on gun possession safeguards, including limits on ammunition rounds, waiting periods, and assault rifle availability.

We call upon our faith communities that we represent to enter into sacred conversations with neighbors whose faith traditions are different than ours, yet ever so rich in seeking the Holy.  We need to embrace our religious diversity and celebrate our differences.  Hatred has no place anywhere and will not win out as we witness to our faith traditions that unite the human family.

We need to embrace our religious diversity, peacefully acknowledge our differences, and gratefully celebrate our unity.


Rev. Darrell Armstrong, General Baptist Convention of New Jersey

Rev. Leslie Dobbs-Allsopp, Interim Executive of the Elizabeth Presbytery

V. Rev. Peter A. Baktis, Orthodox Church of America

Bishop Tracie Bartholomew, NJ Synod Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Imam Qareeb Bashir, Islamic Council of Greater Trenton

Rev. Dr. Tanya Bennett, Chair Bd. of Church & Society Greater NJ Annual Conference UMC, Drew Theological School

Very Reverend Archimandrite Ambrose, Ecumenical Officer, Greek Metropolis of New Jersey

Rev. Charles Boyer, Pastor, Bethel AME Church of Woodbury

Deacon Patrick Brannigan, NJ Catholic Conference

Rev. Dr. Debra Brincivalli, Presbytery Executive, West Jersey Presbytery

M. Ali Chaudry, Ph.D., Islamic Society of Basking Ridge

Imam Hamad Chebli, Islamic Center of Central NJ

The Most Reverend James F. Checchio, Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen

Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, Reform Church of America, Synod of New Jersey

Rev. Dr. Harold Delhagen, Presbyterian Synod of the Northeast

Joan M. Diefenbach, Esq., Director, NJ Council of Churches  

Rabbi Menashe East, Mount Freedom Jewish Center, Interfaith Council of Morris County, Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey

Rev. Dr. Elmo Familiaran, Interim Executive Minister, American Baptist Churches of NJ

Rabbi Daniel Geretz, Maayan Shul

Rabbi Matthew Gewirtz, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun

Rabbi Arnold Gluck, Temple Beth El

Fr. Timoth Graff, Archdiocese of Newark

Rev. Derrick Green, Office of the Governor

Rev. Rob Gregson, Unitarian Universalist Faith Action

Bishop Carlye Hughes, Episcopal Diocese of Newark

Rev. Jack Johnson, Coordinator, Coalition of Religious Leaders

Rabbi David Levy, AJC-NJ Regional Director

Rev. Sara Lilja, Director of Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministries

Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, General Secretary Emeritus, American Baptist Churches, USA

Rev. David Popham, Associate Conference Minister, Central Atlantic Conference of the United Church of Christ

Rev. Jeanne Radak, Presbytery Leader, Newton Presbytery

Rev. Louise Scott-Rountree, Clergy Affairs Manager, Office of the Mayor of Newark

Bishop John Schol, Greater NJ Conference of the United Methodist Church

Imam W. Deen Shareef, Convener of the Council of Imams in NJ.  Resident Imam at Masjid Waarith ud Deen 

Rabbi Alan Silverstein, Rabbinical Assembly

Dr. Surjeet Singh – Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Sikh Community

Rev. Barbara Smith, Executive Presbyter, Newark Presbytery

Bishop Anthony Steinbronn, NJ District, Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod

Bishop Dennis Sullivan, Diocese of Camden

Bishop William Stokes, Episcopal Diocese of NJ

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, Archdiocese of Newark

Rev. Bob Tomlinson, New Brunswick Presbyter

Rev. Dr. Robert Wade, Presiding Elder of Camden-Trenton District AME

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