Englewood 's soon to be first Orthodox Mayor visits Tenafly urging
outreach after eruv issue.
Englewood Councilman Michael Wildes, a member of Congregation Ahavath
Torah in Englewood and the Democratic nominee for Mayor in the overwhelming
Democratic city, walked between Englewood and Tenafly during the Sabbath
last Saturday in order to speak to Tenafly's newest Congregation Kesher
Community Synagogue of Tenafly and Englewood.
Wildes had been invited to be the featured speaker by Chaim Book, Vice-President at
Tenafly's Kesher Congregation which currently is meeting in the homes of
congregants until their shul opens in September of this year.
Wildes said that Tenafly's Orthodox community should follow the blueprint
used to nominate him for Mayor of Englewood and reach beyond the Orthodox
community in Tenafly.
"In Englewood, I began building bridges to all of Englewood's diverse
population years before announcing my candidacy for Mayor," said Wildes.
"The result was my winning more votes in all four wards in the city than
any of the ten candidates on the primary ballot this past June, even though
many of the other candidates represented races and religions of larger
constituency groups there."
Wildes' concern for Tenafly is that the Orthodox community move forward
after the Orthodox communities' lengthy legal battle with the town of
Tenafly over the placement of an Eruv.
As Wildes sees it, the Orthodox community can withdraw from the community
as a whole (having won its battle when the United States Supreme Court
refused to hear the case upholding the Eruv's placement) or it be "magnanimous
in victory and do in Tenafly what the Orthodox community has successfully
done in Englewood and become a crucial piece of the fabric of the community,"
according to Wildes.
"Even five years ago, it would have been highly unlikely that an Orthodox
Jew would be elected to citywide office in Englewood," said Wildes.
"And that would still be the case today, if in Englewood we limited our
involvement to our own community."
"The Orthodox community must reach out," urged Wildes. According to Chaim
Book, the Vice President of the synagogue: "The Congregation wholeheartedly
agreed with Councilman Wildes' assessment and advice and are committed
to following his example of reaching out to the community at large".
Wildes said he looked forward to working with the Orthodox community in
Tenafly as well as with the elected officials there to "make our communities
shining examples of what good can come from putting aside differences
and embracing diversity."
for by Friends of Michael J. Wildes, Claudia Colbert, Treasurer