Welcome Home Jersey City Co-Founder Alain Mentha died on New Year’s Day after a long bout with pancreatic cancer, Temple Beth-El Rabbi Leana Moritt said in an email blast.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“We are profoundly sad to write with news of the death early this morning of our beloved congregant, friend and community leader, Alain Mentha. Alain was 57 and succumbed to cancer early this morning with his wife, Jennifer Strong Mentha and daughter, Amelie Mentha by his side,” she wrote.
” … Alain and his family worked tirelessly toward his goal of compassionately giving all newcomers the dignity of a decent home and the resources they need to make better lives for themselves. Moreover, he made it possible for countless others to perform the mitzvah of welcoming the stranger and the newcomers in our wider community.”
For his work with Welcome Home, an advocacy group for local refugees and asylum seekers, as well as serving as the co-chair of the temple’s Social Action Committee, they referred to him as “a tireless community leader.”
They also encouraged donations to Welcome Home to honor his work in the wake of his passing.
Mentha was also a Democratic committeeman in Ward B, according to his Facebook page.
His funeral is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. and the ceremony will be livestreamed on Temple Beth-El’s YouTube.
The Welcome Home website explains why Mentha co-founded the organization about five years ago.
“In 2016, Alain and [his wife] Jennifer began volunteering with a local resettlement Agency, in anticipation of a backlash against immigrants and refugees,” his biography says.
“After befriending a couple from Eritrea with a daughter Amelie’s age, whose apartment they had helped clean and furnish, Alain fell in love with the work and never looked back. Together with Kara Murphy and Laura McBride, Alain co-founded Welcome Home Jersey City in 2017.”
In a surprising letter to the editor in September, Mentha acknowledged that he was terminally ill due to Stage 4 cancer and said that his dying wish was for Councilwoman-at-Large Amy DeGise to resign over a July 19th hit-and-run.