Following the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Oct. 27, Rev. Laurie Wurm of Grace Church Van Vorst, Rev. Tom Murphy of St. Paul's Episcopal Church and their parishioners arrived for Shabbat services.
Shabbat services at Temple Beth-El in Jersey City last Friday night were more crowded than usual.
Following the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Oct. 27, Rev. Laurie Wurm of Grace Church Van Vorst, Rev. Tom Murphy of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and their parishioners arrived for Shabbat services.
The visitors brought more than a dish for the pot-luck dinner. Wurm arrived with 26 handwritten notes of friendship from her parishioners. They were notes condolence and solidarity with Beth-El and the larger Jewish community.
The solidarity brought Congregation Beth-El Rabbi Leana Moritt to tears.
“It was a catalyst to a healing moment at a time of great pain and confusion,” Moritt said. “I think it helped all of us, especially the children, to know we are not alone. When one of us is injured, we all hurt.”
In response, the children of the religious school at Beth-El all wrote “thank you” notes.
The support from the Christian religious groups was one of many across the country last weekend, as part of a “Show Up for Shabbat” initiative to pay tribute to the 11 people killed in the Pittsburgh shooting.
Having an “open tent” and welcoming the stranger is among the oldest of Jewish values.
“Temple Beth-El lives our values in that we have always been open to all who want to pray, learn and repair the world with us,” Moritt said.
Friday night’s service followed an interfaith “Stronger Than Hate” rally at Jersey City City Hall that was a message of support for the Jewish community and a stand against those who espouse hate, intolerance and bigotry.
The rally was organized by local Jewish community leader Tai Schuster, the rally included Murphy; Shaykh Mohamed Moussa, imam and president of the Tri-State Imams Council; Mohammad Ali Chaudry, president of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge; Moritt; Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop; singer Carol Lester; and Roberta Abrams, president of UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey.
“Beth-El has a long history of strong interfaith friendship and cooperation,” Moritt said. “The support we feel is not only a response to our common values of life, justice and fairness, but as an outgrowth of the relationship forged by working and breaking bread side by side in many areas.”
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