A Call for “Respectful Discussion” on Broad Street West

The Summit Interfaith Council exists to “seek the welfare of the city.” Over the past few months, there has been a great deal said about a proposal to redevelop Broad Street West. As a revised proposal comes to the community in the fall, we encourage that we all strive to treat each other in a civil manner, creating a space for respectful discussion despite different views about the proposed redevelopment. 

Passion in pursuit of the common good is not a bad thing. Rather, it is when we allow passion in support of or opposition to a civic proposal to override our willingness to listen to each other, to look at the facts, and do the hard work that leads to a common solution that we cease to promote and model community. 

There are many important issues facing Summit. One of them is Summit’s Settlement Agreement to create 50 units of affordable housing by 2025—an agreement that Summit Interfaith Council fully supports. As faith leaders, we agree with each other that all human beings deserve a decent place to live. In New Jersey, given a long history of discriminatory housing practices, every community, Summit included, is now legally mandated to do its share to create affordable housing. At this point, Summit has work to do to reach its goal of 50 affordable units by 2025.  

We have heard for over two years now that we are “in this together.”  While this addressed the pandemic, it may also apply to the vision of our City.  In the weeks ahead, we encourage a full, open, and respectful discussion of the opportunity Summit has in redeveloping Broad Street West. Working together as a community, let’s support a workable plan, recognizing that compromise is needed to address the issues facing our community.

About Rabbi Avi Friedman

I am the rabbi of Congregation Ohr Shalom - SJCC, a progressive Conservative and traditional congregation. I am also husband to Jodi as well as father to Gabi, Jonah, Jessica and Ilana. I have been a part of the Summit community since 2005.
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