Interfaith ‘Stop the Hate Rally’ planned Sept. 27 in Edison, N.J.
EDISON, N.J. (Press Release)–Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg, pulpit rabbi at Congregation Beth El in Edison, got tired of counting swastikas and hearing antisemitic cat calls when he headed home from synagogue.
And it didn’t help when hate crimes were dismissed as youthful pranks. Nor does it matter which ethnic or religious group is targeted. “The hate,” says the rabbi, “has got to stop.”
Working with local clergy, the rabbi, who teaches at Rutgers and Yeshiva University, called the Metuchen Edison Clergy Association, who came together and called for a “Stop the Hate Rally” for Monday night, September 27 at Congregation Beth El, 91 Jefferson Boulevard in Edison. The mayor and the chief of police will attend, as will other politicians.“The kids think what they are doing is cool. Unfortunately, they are getting lots of reinforcement from the Internet and current events. Since the community can’t be protected from these obnoxious hate crimes, we, as citizens of Edison, must see how we can change these teen behaviors from the pulpit and in our classrooms. Danger lies ahead if we do nothing.”Pointing to the media, the rabbi notes that baiting Muslims and Latinos, going from verbal violence to physical violence is escalating as elections heat up. “The behavior of those who feel free to express their xenophobia is an indicator of a failure in our educational system. We are Americans who believe in the Bill of Rights and that all people should be treated with respect and dignity. Our children need to know that and live by that–no matter what race or religion they are.”The rally is expected to raise these issues for discussion, and will be followed up a week later with a talk at Beth El by Dr.Clemens Heni, a political scientist from Innsbruck, Austria, who has written extensively about the Holocaust, antisemitism, the far right and anti-Americanism in Germany. He is currently working on a project about Middle Eastern Islamism after 9/11, financed by the Middle East Forum Educational Fund (MEFEF), Philadelphia.*
Preceding provided by Congregation Beth El in Edison, N.J.