FTPD ‘Tuesday Night Talk’ Focuses On Psychological Security In Wake Of War

TUESDAY NIGHT TALK – Township leaders spoke about security in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.

Religious, political and law enforcement leaders were brought together online October 17 for an installment of the FTPD’s Tuesday Night Talks, this one dealing with security in the wake of the Israeli-Hamas war.

Hosted by Township Public Safety Director Quovella Maeweather, the roughly hour-long conversation touched more on the psychological aspect of safety, rather than the physical.

Besides Maeweather, on the panel were Mayor Phil Kramer, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives Francisco Roman Jr., Rabbi Eli Garfinkel of Temple Beth El, Pastor Jamin Powell of Community Baptist Church, Imam Syed Rizwan Rizvi of Masjid-e-Ali and the Muslim Foundation, Alex Kharazi of the Franklin Township Interfaith Council, FTPD Officer Adam Tuvel and FTPD Officer Abdul-Aziz Oudeh.

Maeweather said the impetus to hold the panel came after recent world events, including the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas fighters, and the call for violence against Jews on October 13.

“Our main objective tonight is to build unity and comfort during this time,” she said.

She said the conversation would “address how these events are impacting our community members, within our religious institutions and within our police department as well.”

Roman said that while there are no specific threats in Somerset County, “we remain highly vigilant and make sure that anything that gets reported gets disseminated to our partners.”

Roman said the Prosecutor’s Office works with the Regional Operations Intelligence Center for any information, then passes that information down to the towns for further dissemination.

“We continue to monitor the situation overseas,” Roman said. “We have an intelligence unit as well as counter terrorism unit.”

Kramer praised Maeweather for how she has shaped the police department to reflect the diversity of Franklin Township, and also Garfinkel for the speech he gave at a vigil for Israel at Temple Beth El on October 11.

In his speech, Garfinkel called for peace and mercy in the wake of the attack.

“I applaud the director for what she’s done with the force, and I have to applaud the Rabbi for setting such an incredible example at the vigil,” Kramer said. “I am in awe of him and what he did and the great courage he showed.”

“Those words would not have come out of my mouth had it not been for some very honest conversations that I had with prominent members of the Muslim community in Franklin, most notably Alex Kharazi, who opened my eyes to perspectives that otherwise I would have not spent any time thinking about,” Garfinkel said.

Garfinkel likened the reaction of Jews to the October 7 attack to the reaction of Americans to the September 11, 2001 attacks.

“I think we feel as though we sustained a very serious trauma,” he said.

Watch the Vigil for Israel at Temple Beth El.

Garfinkel said he is caring for three different groups of people, those who are worried about family they have in Israel and about synagogue attacks here, those who are worried about the future in general and, “my family, the 15 million brothers and sisters worldwide who are all in mourning now.”

Rizvi said that the message his mosque has projected is “one of peace and harmony and against hatred of all kinds.”

Noting the mosque’s tradition of inviting members of the Franklin community to share in its celebrations, Rizvi said, “when you guys show up to our mosque, people get the sense of belonging.”

“Franklin is unique, we care for each other, and we stand by each other,” he said.

Powell said his message to his congregation was “at the end of the day, we side on the side of love. It is our prayer and our concern that peace be the paramount understanding.”

“Franklin Township is unique in the aspect of having a wraparound multicultural context,” he said. “We have an advantage living where we live, in being able to address those needs and being able to meet those people at their needs.”

Kharazi said resident value the diversity Franklin offers.

“They want to live with each other, they want to work together, they want to understand each other’s pain and join at the times of happiness,” he said. “We really have the potential to make Franklin a shining example of unity and harmony for others to follow.”

“We have something special here, and I hope everyone recognizes it,” Maeweather said.

Your Thoughts


Please Support Independent Journalism In Franklin Township!

No other media outlet covering Franklin Township brings you the depth of information presented by the Franklin Reporter & Advocate. Period. We are the only truly independent media serving the Eight Villages.

But we can only do that with your support. Please consider a yearly subscription to our online news site; at $37 a year, it’s one of the best investments you can make in our community.

To subscribe, please click here.

Other News From The Eight Villages …