Jewish Faculty, Administration, and Staff (J-FAS)
October 11, 2023
To Jewish Colleagues and Students at Rutgers:
Our university boasts one of the largest Jewish populations of any in the country, with many thousands of Jewish students, faculty, staff members, and administrators. In the wake of the horrific terrorist invasion of Israel on October 7, 2024—the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah—many of these thousands of Jews at Rutgers, along with Jews across academia and throughout the world, feel isolated and abandoned, as if our people and our safety were expendable. Already, elements within universities, including ours, are attempting to justify Hamas’s brutality, drawing moral equivalencies that defy reasoned comprehension, or simply looking the other way.
We are sharing this open letter to make sure that Jews at Rutgers know they are not alone. Student organizations such as Hillel, Chabad, Rutgers Jewish Experience, and AEPi have united to show solidarity with one another and with our brothers and sisters in Israel, and they provide places for students to grieve, find comfort, connect with one another, and advocate for our collective needs. Faculty, staff, and administrators are welcome to contact us to join meetings of JFAS (Jewish Faculty, Administrators, and Staff), an informal group that seeks to bring together Jews at the university and communicate with the administration about our concerns.
As we look ahead, we stand with all members of the Jewish community at Rutgers in praying for peace, comfort and healing for the victims of this horrific attack, the homecoming of captives, and a swift, just resolution to this terrible conflict.
Co-Chairs, Rutgers JFAS (Jewish Faculty, Administrators, and Staff)
June 9, 2021
The Jewish Faculty, Administration, and Staff group (J-FAS) emphatically condemns the alarming rise in antisemitic incidents and rhetoric locally, across the United States, and around the world. At our own university, we are seeing an alarming escalation of divisive rhetoric that seeks to undermine connections between colleagues and equivocal statements that effectively excuse antisemitism. Yet we are convinced that these statements do not reflect the opinions of the vast majority of faculty, staff, and administrators at Rutgers. As members of a scholarly community, we are committed to education about the long history, insidious nature, and devastating effects of antisemitism. As we have done for several years, we will continue to collaborate with the university administration to assist in ensuring that Rutgers provides a safe and supportive environment for Jews and for all people.
J-FAS (Jewish Faculty, Administration, and Staff) is an organization that seeks to connect Jewish faculty, administrators, and staff members across Rutgers University to address issues of mutual interest and concern. The group provides a venue for Jewish academics and professionals to establish relationships, share research, and discuss opportunities and challenges facing the Rutgers Jewish community as a whole.
J-FAS (formerly the Jewish Faculty Forum) was established in the fall of 2016. Our past activities include hosting a workshop by the ADL titled “Combating Discrimination, Promoting Dialogue,” as well as a lecture by Dr. Deborah Lipstadt on “Antisemitism, Here and Now.”
We have held regular meetings with campus leaders on issues of climate and antisemitism. We have also hosted discussions on faculty research interests such as dance in Israel, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the creation of a new prayer book for the Jewish High Holidays. Co-chairs Rebecca Cypess (Department of Music, Mason Gross School of the Arts) and Jenny Mandelbaum (Department of Communication, School of Communication and Information) set agendas for meetings and secure guest speakers from within or outside the Rutgers Jewish community.
Faculty, staff, and administrators who wish to join the J-FAS mailing list or attend meetings are encouraged to contact:
J-FAS (Jewish Faculty, Administration, and Staff) Advisory Board
- Rabbi Esther Reed, Interim Executive Director, Rutgers Hillel (https://rutgershillel.org/about/staff/)
- David Greenberg, Professor of History, Professor of Journalism and Media Studies, Rutgers (http://greenberg.rutgers.edu/
- Lauren Winogron, Program Manager/Senior Program Coordinator, Rutgers Global–Study Abroad (https://global.rutgers.edu/