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State Association elects officers, honors Herb Klein
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State Association elects officers, honors Herb Klein

Jared Maples, acting director of the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, addresses the annual meeting; president Gordon Haas, left, presided.
Jared Maples, acting director of the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, addresses the annual meeting; president Gordon Haas, left, presided.

GORDON HAAS of Elizabeth was elected president of the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations for a second year at the organization’s annual meeting on July 12.

At the event, which took place at the JCC of Central NJ in Scotch Plains, officers were also chosen to serve as members of the executive/operations committee. 

The State Association is the government affairs and advocacy arm for the state’s Jewish federations.

Haas, president and CEO of the Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Elizabeth Destination Marketing Organization, formerly served on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and for three years as chair of its Community Relations Committee.

“My first year as State Association president certainly was challenging, with addressing JCC bomb threats and safety vulnerabilities of our community leading the list,” Haas said. “Helping to secure Jewish community interests for all Jews in our state also mandated we fight the rise in anti-Semitism, reinforce the New Jersey-Israel relationship with a strong anti-BDS effort, and, among other initiatives, continue to seek state support for services and programs provided by our federation agencies for those in need.” 

The meeting’s keynote speaker, Jared Maples, acting director of the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP), highlighted his group’s long-standing partnership with the State Association and many Jewish federations. NJOHSP, he said, “is committed to building strong relationships with faith-based communities and ensuring that they remain secure.” In reference to NJOHSP’s activities confronting acts of bias and anti-Semitism, Maples said, “There is no place for hate in New Jersey, and NJOHSP will be there to condemn hatred and bigotry.”

Herb Klein, former U.S. congressman (D-Dist. 8, 1993-95) and NJ assemblyman (1972-76), received an award in recognition of his longtime service as a member of the State Association’s executive/operations committee. A former president of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Clifton & Passaic, Klein is also a member of Rutgers University’s board of overseers. 

State Association past president Mark Levenson presented the award, thanking Klein “for his many years of advocacy and commitment to building the strength and unity of the state’s Jewish community.” 

“I look forward to partnering with Gordon and our leadership team to move the agenda of our community forward,” said executive director Jacob Toporek.

Members of the State Association executive/operations committee:

President — Gordon Haas (Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ) 

Vice presidents — Myra Gutin (Jewish Federation of Southern NJ), Eric Lavitsky (Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon & Warren Counties), Shelley Newman (Jewish Federation of Ocean County), Leonard Posnock (Greater MetroWest) 

Secretary — Susan Penn (Jewish Federation of Northern NJ) 

Treasurer — Sam Pepper (Greater MetroWest) 

Members at large — Annabel Lindenbaum (Ocean County), Toby Shylit Mack (Heart of NJ), Marlene Herman (Heart of NJ), Ronald Lieberman (Southern NJ), Roger Jacobs (Greater MetroWest), Meryl Gonchar (Heart of NJ) 

Immediate past president — Mark Levenson (Jewish Federation of Clifton Passaic/Greater MetroWest)

Appointments by president — Roy Tanzman (Heart of NJ), Ruth Cole (Northern NJ), Elaine Dunst (Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren), Dov Ben-Shimon (CEO, Greater MetroWest), Jennifer Dubrow Weiss (CEO, Southern NJ), Keith Krivitzky (CEO, Heart of NJ)

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