Rabbi Neal Borovitz, chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council of UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey, said, “What excites me about [the Israel Action Network] is that, on a national level, multiple organizations are coming together to create programming that can be implemented on the local level.”

The federation is getting behind the project. According to Joy Kurland, director of the JCRC, UJA-NNJ’s board has “committed funding [of $20,063] for the first year” of the three-year initiative. “We are supporting it and, hopefully, funding will be secured for years two and three.”

Kurland, who is also director of the Regional CRC, said the network “will help the community address the delegitimization of Israel that is rampant across the country.”

Borovitz said that his “hope is that in our battle against [the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement] this new initiative will produce materials and strategies that can and must be implemented on a local level. I’m also hopeful that, in our northern New Jersey community, it will help us work together across our religious and political divides.”

The network, he continued, “has the support of all [religious] movements, the federations, Hillel – it’s very broad-based” and would end duplication of efforts. He said he is “hopeful that everyone will work together so that we will use the limited financial and human resources to support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state within secure and recognized borders.” The network would “give us a platform by which we can reach out and explain Israel’s positions to the non-Jewish faith communities.”

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Anti-Semitism expert Charles Small addresses a gathering at UJA-NNJ Monday night. His topic was “Israel Under Siege.” Miriam Allenson

Both Kurland and Borovitz noted that much of the BDS activity has been on college campuses, “certainly on the Rutgers campus,” Borovitz said, where many local young people go to school. “It’s inspiring Jewish faculty to stand together to help in this effort,” he added.

Faculty members of local colleges were among the attendees at a program at UJA-NNJ’s Paramus headquarters Monday night. Held in conjunction with Stand With Us and the Regional CRC, the topic, addressed by Charles Small of the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism, was “Israel Under Siege: Anti-Semitism in a Time of Apathy.”

Kurland said that “the JCRC is convening a Jewish faculty network… They will bring this issue to their campuses” – which will include Bergen Community, Ramapo, and Saint Peter’s colleges and Fairleigh Dickinson, Montclair State, and William Paterson universities – “and work with the students to develop a proactive approach.”