July 2, 2003

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."

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