Jersey City’s Jewish mayor dedicated life to public service after 9/11

A grandchild of Holocaust survivors, Fulop grew up working in his father's deli after school. After 9/11, he quit his job at Goldman Sachs to serve in the Marines.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop (left) in 2013 while running for elections. (photo credit: MAY S. YOUNG/WIKIPEDIA COMMON)
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop (left) in 2013 while running for elections.
Soon after reports of an active shooting situation in Jersey City started to circulate, Mayor Steven Fulop took to Twitter to release information to the public and specifically addressed parents worrying about the well-being of their children in the area schools.
“We still have an active scene but all the schools in the area are secure and all children are accounted for. We will provide more information later,” he wrote around 3 p.m. local time, adding that they were planning to “systematically release any schools that have been on lock down” at 4:15.
Later on Tuesday, he gave an indication that the kosher supermarket, where the shooting partially took place might have been purposely targeted.
“Based on our initial investigation (which is ongoing) we now believe the active shooters targeted the location they attacked. Due to an excess of caution the community may see additional police resources in the days/weeks ahead. We have no indication there are any further threats,” he wrote on Twitter.
On Wednesday, Fulop pledged that antisemitism and hatred would never have a place in Jersey City.
"I’m Jewish and proud to live in a community like Jersey City that has always welcomed everyone. It is the home of Ellis Island and has always been the golden door to America. Hate and antisemitism have never had a place here in JC and will never have a place in our city," he wrote on Twitter.
Fulop was elected as Jersey City mayor in 2013 at the age of 36, defeating an incumbent who had received endorsements from major figures of the Democratic Party, including president Barack Obama.
A 2014 profile published in the Jewish Link of New Jersey explained that he grew up in Edison, NJ, a grandchild of Romanian Holocaust survivors who made it to America penniless. His father owned a deli in Newark, where young Steven worked after school; he attended Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva in Highland Park and then in Solomon Schechter in West Orange.
After graduating from State University of New York at Binghamton in 1999, he started working at Goldman Sachs.
Then the attack of 9/11 changed everything, compelling him to public service.
In a 2013 interview with The New York Observer, he explained when the Twin Towers fell he was just a few minutes away and felt the floor shaking. He subsequently quit his well-paying job in investment banking and joined the Marines and was briefly deployed in Iraq.
He became mayor of Jersey City after serving as a two-term councilman, promising inclusiveness and reforms, starting with the city’s schools.
“If the schools don’t succeed and the schools don’t improve, it impacts our employment, it impacts our crimes, it impacts our taxes,” he told the Observer.
According to his website, under his tenure Jersey City became the first city in the state – and the sixth in the country – to ensure paid sick leave.
“Jersey City is one of the most diverse cities in the country and it is a place of love and inclusivity – its a special place. As a city, we’ve overcome challenges before and we will do it here as well,” he wrote of Tuesday’s attack.
Fulop will be running for re-election in 2021.