Morris County Shines a Blue Light On Antisemitism
Published on December 07, 2023
County Commissioners Support Local Campaign Against Hate
The Morris County Board of County Commissioners applauded a campaign to end hate against Jews and bring awareness to heightened antisemitism as a result of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel that claimed the lives of more than 1,400 innocent people.
The program was detailed by Commissioner Deborah Smith during last night’s work session meeting after she learned of the “Stand Against Jewish Hate Blue Light Campaign.” It was initiated by local Jewish residents in Randolph, where it was unanimously supported by the Randolph Township Council.
“At Hanukkah, Jews everywhere light their menorahs to increase the light in the world and pray that light, goodness and love will defeat the darkness,” said Commissioner Smith. “In the Blue light campaign, we join in solidarity with our Jewish residents to increase light in the world and stand for Israel. In the face of uncertainty, the collective illumination of compassion and resilience can heighten awareness of antisemitism and guide us through this terrible time.”
The “Stand Against Jewish Hate Blue Light Campaign” was created to build awareness and rally support against the rise of antisemitism in the United States. Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, there has been a nearly 400 percent increase in antisemitic incidents reported year over-year, according to report from the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism. The charged rhetoric has led to many attacks on Jewish people, both in person and on social media.
The “Blue Light Campaign” is intended to coincide with Hanukkah; and the grassroots group in Randolph will be assembling packages with a single blue light, a single blue ribbon and a fact card containing ideas to stand up to hatred of Jews and increase “light at a time of immense darkness.” The group will be offering these packages to anyone wishing to be an ally to the Jewish community in Morris County this holiday season.
Supporters can show solidarity with the Jewish community by displaying a blue light in a window or by affixing a blue ribbon around a tree in their yard. Everyone is urged to speak out against antisemitism and pray for the hostages, many of them women and children, who are still being held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza and their terrorist allies.
If your own community wishes to support the Blue Light Campaign, you can create packages by searching for and purchasing the following items online:
Blue Light Campaign Package Components
1) Blue Light Postcards
2) Blue lights
3) 2-inch blue ribbon cut to 1.5 feet for each package
4) Two pieces of Hanukkah Gelt
5) Blue Bags 9x12 inches
Below is the full transcript of Commissioner Smith’s remarks from the December 6, 2023 work session meeting:
Five years ago, a Pittsburgh synagogue buried 11 members – all murdered by a hate-filled gunman. Jews, from nearby and afar, cried. An attack at a synagogue in Poway, California then followed, and afterwards, we saw a hostage situation in a Dallas synagogue.
Finally, this past October 7, in Israel, more than 1,400 people were slaughtered in unimaginable ways by the terrorist group known as Hamas. It was the greatest number of Jews killed in a single day since the Holocaust. Another 244 others were taken hostage, many children and elderly. While about 105 were recently released, at least three were murdered and the fate of another 138 is still unknown.
We haven’t been able to fully mourn the atrocities of October 7 because in our own nation, and abroad in Europe, we have been shocked to watch hundreds of mostly young, ignorant people march weekly in the streets of our major cities shouting for the destruction of Israel and – astonishingly – some chanting for death to the Jews and brandishing swastikas.
We have since seen a 400% rise in antisemitic attacks in America. We sit glued to our TVs and phones wondering, how are we here again only 78 years since the end of World War II and the Holocaust that took 6 million Jews?
We call our college-aged students to make sure they are safe. We go to synagogues with armed guards and still feel nervous. We are told by local agencies to be careful about outward expressions of our faith. We feel isolated.
Tonight, I ask my fellow Commissioners to continue their stand in support of Israel and against antisemitism. Tonight, I ask everyone to recognize a brave group of Randolph residents and join them in their Blue Light Campaign to stand against the hate of Jews-- and hate as it exists against any group of people.
They have provided me with a few kits to share with my fellow Commissioners, but all anyone needs to do is to gather some basic items.
Here is what everyone can do:
1. Put out a blue light in a visible window and a blue ribbon in a tree while putting up your holiday decorations.
2. Join the Jewish community in praying for the safe return of the hostages in Gaza.
3. Speak loudly against hatred of the Jewish community.
4. Celebrate with and get to know the Jewish community here in Morris County.
The Jewish community is one of the pillars in Morris County’s history. Our Jewish residents today continue to remain a vital part of Morris County.
At Hanukkah, Jews everywhere light their menorahs to increase the light in the world and pray that light, goodness and love will defeat the darkness.
In the Blue light campaign, we join in solidarity with our Jewish residents to increase light in the world and stand for Israel. In the face of uncertainty, the collective illumination of compassion and resilience can heighten awareness of antisemitism and guide us through this terrible time. Thank you.
Photo 1: The contents of a Blue Light Campaign kit.
Photo 2: Commissioner Deb Smith provides her comments during the December 6, 2023 Work Session Meeting. Director John Krickus and County Administrator Deena Leary are seated left to right in the background.