The search continues for a new director of the Anti-Defamation League’s New Jersey region.
Jeffrey Salkin, a South Orange resident who served in that position since July 2012, announced in April he was leaving the ADL to become rabbi at the Reform Temple Beth Am in Bayonne. His last day at the ADL was Oct. 31.
Robert Wolfson, ADL’s associate national director of regional operations, told NJJN the search to replace Salkin has been going on since “slightly before the Jewish holidays, but we haven’t been able to hire anybody yet.”
In the meantime, ADL’s national leadership is assuring members of New Jersey’s Jewish community that the national defense organization will continue its activities in a state with the fourth-highest percentage of Jewish residents, after New York, California, and Florida.
“It is not unusual for us to have to do coverage of places when there is a staff vacancy,” Wolfson said in an Oct 29 phone interview. “In many states we don’t have offices, but we have relationships with the state police, with the FBI, with the Department of Homeland Security. We have relationships in all 50 states all the time, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our goal is to make sure we are able to respond to anti-Semitic incidents, to law enforcement inquiries, to our investigative resources on a national basis.”
Citing an increase in reported anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey from 144 in 2011 to 173 in 2012, at least one board member is eager that Salkin’s successor be hired promptly.
“In my opinion, we need to find a replacement director ASAP,” said Roy Tanzman, a Woodbridge attorney who is a member of the search committee. In an e-mail to NJJN, Tanzman wrote, “ADL as an organization cannot run effectively with only lay leadership. I believe that the other members of the committee are of like mind.”
“Having a full-time staff member is obviously preferable,” said A. Ross Pearlson, president of ADL’s NJ region. “In the meantime, the national office has committed to us — and the NJ regional board in turn has committed to the NJ community, that ADL will continue to provide for its needs and ensure they are met until a new director is hired.”
“We want to make sure we hire the right kind of person,” added Wolfson. “We have been in New Jersey a long time. We don’t intend to leave.”