A ceremony was held at Jersey City Hall last night to commemorate the third anniversary of the December 10, 2019 shootings at a Kosher deli in Greenville that claimed the lives of four innocent people.
“Prior to December 2019, we invested millions of dollars in active shooting training. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. We thought we’d invest more to more to be more prepared than most. I’m thankful we did that,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said at the podium.
“The Jersey City Police Department performed exceptionally we that day. Had it not been for their bravery in responding, it certainly would have been a worse catastrophe than it was. As you see a rise in antisemitism locally, statewide, and nationally, organizations like the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) are more important than ever.”
The killings of Det. Joseph Seals, Mindy Ferencz, Moshe Deutsch, and Douglas Miguel Rodriguez were deemed acts of domestic terrorism and hate crimes by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office after determining the shoots were antisemitic and anti-law enforcement.
“I was here the night of December 10th and again on December 11th with the governor. I was his chief counsel at the time,” noted state Attorney General Matt Platkin, who credited Seals for being heroic and saving lives that day.
Platkin also remembered the “look of fear on so many in the community that were targeted that day. I look out, and I see a reflection of the city, which is a reflection of New Jersey, in arguably the most diverse city in the country and arguably the most diverse state in the country.”
“I continue to see that fear in communities across our state. Hate hasn’t gone away in the three years since that awful day, and it doesn’t just apply to the Jewish community. Too many people across this state are afraid simply because of who they are, or how they look, how they pray, who they love, and where they’re from. As the chief law enforcement officer, my job is to keep us safe. If you see something, say something,” he added.
First Lady Tammy Murphy also addressed the dozens on hand, recalling those four who were gunned down, as well as Michael Rumburger: an Uber driver was was murdered in Bayonne by the two shooters the following day.
“We pray for the well-being of our communities and to an end to senseless acts of violence. On behalf of Phil and our family and our broad and diverse New Jersey family, I express our deepest gratitude for the contributions and sacrifices of a law enforcement hero, Officer Joseph Seals, and to all those who risked our lives to keep safe,” she said.
“We must find the courage, even through enduring pain, to end the twin evils of gun violence and bigotry … Our success and well-being depend on the strength and unity of our communities. When we come together, there is nothing we are unable to achieve, and that includes creating a culture of love, respect, and peace Light will always overcome darkness, a message enforced by the Hanukkah story.”
Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Scott Richman noted that 2019 was the worse year on record for reported antisemitic attacks, until last year. He further stated that incidents have still been fairly regular in 2022.
“It was a brutal attack motivated by a vicious form of antisemitism. I wish I could say it was a wake-up call and put society on a better path. Unfortunately, antisemitism has has simply gotten worst,” he explained.
“2022 is no better. My staff is literally overwhelmed as we speak ,responding to multiple antisemitism incidents. Unfortunately, this community all too well knows where hate can lead. Jews were targeted that day, but Det. Joseph Seals and Douglas Miguel Rodriguez also lost their lives that day.”
He also said that that Rodriguez’s family are immigrants that are still in need of financial support.
“This family is stuck in limbo because of a backlog. We should all be speaking about this,” Richman added.
He also thanked Laura Seals, the late wife of Joseph, for attending the event and offered his condolences.
“NAACP stands shoulder to shoulder with the ADL. For 109 years, the NAACP has been fighting hate. Hate has become a normality here, and love conquers all. Our differences make us stronger,” noted Bergen County NAACP President Junius Carter said.
“The only way we will be able to fight antisemitism and hate is by working together. We must come together,” stated Jewish Federation of Northern NJ President Dan Schlufman.
Candles were then lit in honor of the deceased, with Jersey City Council President Joyce Watterman and Police Director Tawana Moody participating in the ceremony.
“Antisemitism is a daily phenomenon the Jewish community faces here in the United States, but also all around the world. We are all victims of hate,” Israeli Deputy Consul General Israel Nitzan said.
The entire ceremony streamed live on our Facebook page and can be viewed here.