The Jewish Center of Teaneck hosted Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin as the featured speaker at this year’s Selichos “Issues in Our Society” program, Motzoei Shabbos, Sept. 4. Also joining the mayor were the Bergen County Executive Dennis McNerney, who presented a proclamation to the Jewish Center, and Bergen County Sherriff Leo McGuire, as well as Teaneck’s Deputy Mayor, Adam Gussen.
Mayor Hameeduddin’s talk entitled “From Ramadan to Rosh Hashanah: Connecting our Communities” addressed common concerns within both the Jewish and Muslim communities around the issues of interfaith and civic engagement, volunteerism and funding for non-profits.
He also spoke to the mounting concerns around the sustainability of local governments amid the economic downturn and rising costs especially in the area of employment which constitutes 70 percent of the municipal budget. Mayor Hameeduddin reflected on his recent invitation and visit to the White House where he was one of President Obama’s guests at the annual Iftar dinner marking the month of Ramadan, a White House event tradition that, he noted, dates back to the presidency of Thomas Jefferson.
At the conclusion of Mayor Hameeduddin’s presentation was a question and answer period as members of the audience addressed some of the areas of his talk.
Rabbi Lawrence S. Zierler presented Mayor Hameeduddin with a framed momento of a publicity piece for the JCT event as well as a silver card containing the Hebrew and English texts of the Tefillat Haderech, the Jewish Traveler’s prayer. In his presentation Rabbi Zierler noted that “we are each on a journey with different legs and stops and it is our prayer in this community that our shared and individual ‘journeys’ will be safe and allow us to reach our desired destinations.”