Dear Honored County, State and Federal Leaders:
I write you today as a Councilmember representing the Township of Teaneck, a multi-cultural diverse community of close to 40,000 residents. Many of you are familiar with Teaneck and I have had the honor of meeting you either here in my hometown or in your offices.
Teaneck is a town that has thousands of its residents abroad, either living temporarily in foreign nations or residing in other countries as they possess dual citizenship. Hundreds of these Teaneck citizens are students. As is customary post Orthodox Jewish High School graduation, over 250 of them are studying abroad in Israel.
It is with great sadness that I read of the horrific kidnapping of three students, one of whom is an American citizen. I am in shock of this new level of terrorism that we are waking up to again following the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian school girls.
With hundreds of Teaneck students in Israel every single year, this new found method of terrorism scares me. It scares me as a father to four children and as a friend to many parents whose children are there now.
This just as easily could have been a Teaneck resident, with many Teaneck children learning in schools not far from the school in which these children studied.
But yet the world remains quiet. The post high school and “gap year” experience is a tradition that hundreds of thousands of American students experience every year. For decades. Four of my brothers experienced it and my mother experienced it in the generation before us. My grandfathers “gap year” was his proud service in the United States Army and my wife’s grandfather in the United States Navy, ensuring that continents aboard will remain free as those of us stateside.
But yet this way of life is now threatened. Peace, democracy and everything sacred to our society is being attacked almost daily in many corners of the world.
It now appears as if kidnapping students is becoming the new norm. With our students abroad and millions of students in our classrooms daily, we must take a stand . And we must do so today.
I call on you, my leaders on the county, state and federal level to use all instruments at your disposal, whether your voice, pen or other constitutionally given power, to let our President and this world know that our students are sacred.
I look forward to an end to this tragic occurrence and to the elimination of all forms of terror.
It says in the Old Testament, in Genesis 37:16 “I am looking for my brothers, tell me please, where are they “
Please help me and my residents find this answer
From the Co-Publisher of JLBC, Teaneck Council Member, Mark Schwartz