A historic luncheon took place at the New Jersey State House last Thursday where three quarters of the NJ State Senate and numerous Assemblymen and Assemblywomen gathered for a “Meet and Greet” with over 40 Chabad Shluchim.
The event, which was co-hosted by Rabbi Moshe Herson, Dean of the Rabbinical College of America and Head Shliach of NJ, and Senator Stephen Sweeney, Senate President of the State of New Jersey, was the second of its kind in as many years and was created to foster a stronger relationship and increased communication between the Jewish community and Statewide elected officials.
“We as legislators have so much to learn about the Jewish community and Chabad so it is incumbent upon us to seek out our Jewish leaders and ask questions,” said Senator Sweeney. “I think an event like this is so crucial and valuable to us that I will ensure this event takes place every year.”
“We need to set this up not just for my tenure, but for future governments and politicians as well,” Sweeney added.
Rabbi Moshe Herson, who received guidance and encouragement from the Rebbe to ensure there was a strong relationship between Shluchim and elected officials, addressed the 80 or so attendees and spoke passionately about the mission of Chabad to serve not only the Jewish community but the Rebbe’s vision of making a positive difference for all of humanity. He called upon both Shluchim and legislators “to do what you can to bring positivity to your communities and citizens.”
While the event was conceived and coordinated by Rabbi Avi Richler of Chabad of Gloucester County, who serves as the liaison to the politicians for the RCA and the Shluchim, he feels that the success of this event and other similar efforts are primarily due to the Shluchim’s involvement in reaching out to their local legislators.
“We have 52 Chabad Houses spanning 20 out of the 21 counties in NJ and each Shliach is recognized in their locale as a leader and a voice for the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Richler. “What we did today was bring everyone together in the State house, under the same roof, so that our legislators can see the unity, strength, and vast representation of Chabad in New Jersey. This is certainly a testament to the leadership of Rabbi Moshe Herson throughout the years.”