essex county commissioners hold annual jewish heritage month event

“The Essex County Board of Commissioners 2022 Jewish Heritage Month Event. Pictured from left to right are Clerk of the Board Deborah Davis Ford, Commissioner President Wayne L. Richardson, Caren L. Freyer, Commissioner Vice President Carlos M. Pomares, Commissioner Romaine Graham, Commissioner Patricia Sebold, Rabbi Max Edwards, Jill Hirsch, and Commissioner Tyshammie L. Cooper. (PHOTO BY LLOYD HOLMES)”

(Newark, NJ) –  On Thursday, May 19, 2022, the Essex County Board of County Commissioners held its annual Jewish Heritage Month Event. This event is held yearly to celebrate the accomplishments of Jewish men and women everywhere and honor outstanding Essex County citizens for their unique contributions both to our county and society as a whole.

This year, the Board recognized: Rabbi Max Edwards of Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston; Caren L. Freyer, Regional Public Affairs Manager at PSEG; and Jill Hirsch, District Director for Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill.

Commissioner President Wayne L. Richardson began the program with opening remarks speaking to the diversity of Essex County, the contributions of the Jewish community, and the sense of collective gratitude we all should feel since gathering restrictions have been eased, and it is less dangerous to hold public events indoors. Commissioner President Richardson stated, “We look forward to this event every year, as it gives us an opportunity to recognize one of the many communities that contribute to our county’s greatest strength – the diversity of our people.” He continued, “Last year, due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, our Jewish Heritage event was held virtually. Thankfully, through the diligent work of our County leadership, we are now able to resume holding events in person.”

Also in attendance and taking part in the program was Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill. Her District Director Jill Hirsch was one of the honorees, and she spoke to Ms. Hirsch’s effectiveness as a leader and a communicator with constituents, and her trustworthiness as a friend. “This is truly an honor that Jill deserves.” Congresswoman Sherrill said. “She agonizes for hours over casework and people we need to help, and New Jersey would not run the same without her.”

Jill Hirsch, presented by Commissioner Tyshammie L. Cooper, is the District Director for the office of Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill in New Jersey’s 11th District. She oversees the operations of the District Office and supervises constituent and political outreach. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with honors and earning a joint degree in Law and Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, she started her career in the child welfare field focusing on adoption law, domestic adoptions, step-parent adoptions, and foster care adoption matters. During her time as a Staff Attorney for the Legal Aid Society, she represented children in abuse, neglect, custody and guardianship cases, and worked on the Education Advocacy Project (EAP), a grant-funded project which provided early intervention and special education advocacy for foster children with developmental delays.

Rabbi Max Edwards, presented by Commissioner Patricia Sebold, is the Assistant Rabbi at Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston. Prior to his rabbinic ordination from Hebrew College Rabbinical School in Newton, Massachusetts, he received a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Bachelor of Arts from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. In his role at B’nai Abraham, he is involved in a number of initiatives.  Aside from service leading, regular teaching, and providing pastoral care, he has worked with his clergy colleagues to increase the community’s role in social justice causes. He is currently working with Refugee Assistance Partners New Jersey (RAP-NJ) to explore options for refugee resettlement in the Livingston area.

Caren L. Freyer, presented by Commissioner President Wayne L. Richardson, is a Regional Public Affairs Manager with PSE&G. She provides strategic communications, problem solving, public policy support, and regular testimony at Commissioner and Town Council hearings. Additionally, she manages local relationships with public officials and stakeholders to support the PSE&G Regional Public Affairs team. During her career in the energy sector, she has held a variety of leadership roles including: Vice President of Governmental Relations with Parsons Brinckerhoff; Manager of State Governmental Relations with EBASCO services; Commissioner and Vice Chairwoman of the Essex County Utilities Authority; and Energy Analyst with the New Jersey State Department of Energy. She is also a member of several civic and community-based organizations including: The Morris Essex Mental Health Association; the World Trade Center Scholarship Fund; the Newark Workforce Investment Board; the Morris Chamber of Commerce Businesswoman’s Committee; and the New Jersey Business Alliance.

Rabbi David Vaisberg of Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston delivered prayers during the occasion, and the audience was captivated by the musical talents of Cantorial Soloist Peri Smilow of Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield.

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For Additional Information – Contact:
Kyalo Mulumba, Public Information Officer
Essex County Board of County Commissioners
973-621-4452 (phone) 973-621-5695 (fax)
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Board of County Commissioners,
County of Essex
465 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.,
Room 558 Hall of Records,
Newark, New Jersey 07102