essex commissioners recognize community leaders for jewish heritage month

L to R: Commissioner Brendan Gill, Martin Baum, Jeffrey Haveson, Rabbi Simeon Cohen, Commissioner Pat Sebold, Commissioner V.P. Tyshammie Cooper, Commissioner A’Dorian Murray-Thomas

(Livingston, NJ) Last Thursday, May 30, the Essex County Board of County Commissioners held its annual Jewish Heritage Month celebration at the Livingston Senior/Community Center. It is held each year to celebrate the accomplishments of and honor outstanding Jewish men and women of Essex County for their unique contributions to the Essex community and society as a whole.

The honorees this year included Rabbi Simeon Cohen of Temple Beth Shalom in Livingston, Martin Baum from Glen Ridge of Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, and Jeffrey Haveson of Congregation Ahavas Sholom and the Jewish Museum of New Jersey in Newark.

"I look forward to this event immensely every year,” said Commissioner Patricia Sebold, who started the annual celebration. “It is more important now than ever before to have opportunities like this for the Jewish community to come together with the wider Essex community, to express solidarity and lift up those who have done so much. Congratulations to all of our honorees!"

L to R: Rabbi Simeon Cohen, Commissioner President Carlos Pomares, Commissioner Pat Sebold, Jeffrey Haveson, Martin Baum

Rabbi Marc Katz of Temple Ner Tamid delivered opening and closing prayers during the occasion. Musical accompaniment was provided by Cantor Perry Fine of Temple Beth Shalom, accompanied by pianist Karina Bruk.

See more pictures of the event here.



Rabbi Simeon Cohen, presented by Commissioner Patricia Sebold, joined Temple Beth Shalom in July 2017, after receiving rabbinic ordination and an MA in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). Since coming to Temple Beth Shalom, Rabbi Cohen has invigorated his congregation through his teaching, speaking, dynamic programming and relationship building. Rabbi Cohen is proud to currently serve as the president of the Interfaith Clergy Association in Livingston, which has allowed to him emerge as a leader in our broader community. He has spoken passionately at many communal events, particularly  since October 7th, on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people. Rabbi Cohen was honored to be a named as a "2023 Hero" by Congresswoman Mikie Sherill for his communal leadership and is also proud to serve on the Rabbinic Cabinet of Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He has been to Israel on two missions since October 7th, including one he led in March with 18 members of Temple Beth Shalom. When he is not working on behalf of the Jewish people, Rabbi Cohen can be found happily spending time with his wife, Dr. Ariel Fein, their daughters Amalya and Sivan, and their dog, Ophelia.

Martin L. Baum, presented by Commissioner Brendan Gill, is currently President of Temple Ner Tamid, a Reform congregation with over 600 families located in Bloomfield, and serving Montclair, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, and surrounding towns. Prior to becoming Temple President in June 2023, Marty served on the Temple Board for many years and in multiple capacities including Vice President of Communications and First Vice President. His major accomplishment was leading a comprehensive review of the synagogue’s Constitution, and he is now championing a large capital campaign. Professionally, Marty is a partner at Edgewood Consulting Group based in Parsippany, working with major food and pharmaceutical companies in marketing and sales. Marty has a B.A. from George Washington University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. He and his wife Anne are longtime residents of Glen Ridge, where they have raised four sons. When not working, Marty enjoys coaching youth sports, watching soccer and traveling.

Jeffrey Haveson, presented by Commissioner A’Dorian Murray-Thomas, a lifelong resident of Essex County, with most of that time in Newark, graduated from Peshine Avenue School and Weequahic High School in Newark. Jeff received a B.A. in Communication from Seton Hall University. He is a broadcast journalist and radio/podcast producer, currently working for the podcast, Something You Should Know. Previously, he was the Executive Producer at New York’s Progressive Talk/WWRL-AM 1600, which, in addition to being the area’s liberal political talk station was dedicated to dialogue between African American, Jewish, and other communities. Before that, he was founder and Executive Producer at Garden State Radio News/World Jewish News, which provided New Jersey news to a network of New Jersey radio stations and Jewish news to Jewish radio programs. Jeff also worked as Associate Editor of the American Jewish Media Directory, producer of a series of radio PSA’s for the Association of Jewish Federations of New Jersey, Assistant News Director at WVNJ, Newark, and was part of the team that transitioned WBGO from the Newark Board of Education’s in-school educational radio station to Newark Public Radio’s Jazz 88. Jeff grew up with a strong Jewish identity and has always been active in the Jewish community.  He went to Hebrew School and Hebrew High School, and had his Bar Mitzvah at Temple B’nai Abraham in Newark.  The social activism of Rabbi Joachim Prinz has had a profound influence on Jeff.  Rabbi Prinz was the former Chief Rabbi of Berlin, the Rabbi of Temple B’nai Abraham, and the person who spoke at the March on Washington, before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Jeff was a member of the B’nai Abraham Children’s Choir, and recorded Hanukkah and Passover record albums with the Choir that were narrated by Rabbi Prinz. In 1980, Jeff co-founded a Highland Park based Havurah, the Shabbat Group, which is still in existence, 44 years later. In the 1990’s, Jeff was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Havurah Committee, which runs a yearly week-long Summer Jewish Institute and yearly regional weekend retreats, at which Jeff learned the joy of studying Jewish text. In 2000, after a number of years of being part of Ahavas Sholom’s High Holidays Minyan, Jeff became a member of the synagogue and is today a Board member, a Vice President, Outreach Chair, webmaster, newsletter editor, and event organizer.  Among other things, he runs the synagogue Torah Study Group, runs some of the Museum programs, organizes the Hanukkah Party, cooks for and leads the Tu B’Shvat Seder, organizes the Purim Party, prepares for the 2nd Night Passover Seder, prepares the food and organizes the study on Erev Shavuot, prepares for the Erev Rosh Hashanah Dinner and the Sukkot Chinese Dinner in the Sukkah, runs the holiday Kiddush lunches, and coordinates the synagogue’s Zoom programs.

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Essex County Board of County Commissioners
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