Statement of the Coalition of Religious Leaders of NJ in Response to Hateful Acts of Violence Against Jewish Faith Communities

October 31, 2018 | GNJ News

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.


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


Rev. Darrell Armstrong

General Baptist Convention of New Jersey


Rev. Leslie Dobbs-Allsopp

Interim Executive of the Elizabeth Presbytery


  1. 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


  1. 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