Renee Moilanen Column: Conversation on immigration between Jewish, Christian congregations illustrates solidarity in faith

Renee Moilanen Column: Conversation on immigration between Jewish, Christian congregations illustrates solidarity in faith

It was easy, after a lunatic anti-Semite shot up a Pittsburgh synagogue, to essentially really feel besieged.

Had it been a single incident, I’d want chalked it as a lot as one different senseless mass capturing, all too frequent as of late. Nevertheless inside the context of Jewish cemetery desecrations, the Charlottesville protests, and the rising spate of anti-Semitism mainly, the Pittsburgh massacre sounded an alarm for me and completely different Jews.

It did not seem random. It appeared on improvement.

And as I do too normally as of late, I found myself seeing the world in stark dichotomies. Are you my pal? Or my enemy?

Then, merely days after ultimate month’s capturing, two faith institutions – Manhattan Seaside Group Church and Congregation Tikvat Jacob – launched a four-part sequence of public conversations about divisive topics, akin to immigration and wrestle, which runs by Wednesday.

Possible, the sequence had been deliberate for months. It was not meant to be a response to the Jewish synagogue capturing. And however, I couldn’t help nonetheless actually really feel, as I made my technique to Congregation Tikvat Jacob two weeks up to now for the dialog about immigration, that there was some divine intervention in timing the sequence so rapidly after the massacre.

An armed policeman met me on the door. I left my two youthful boys to play video video video games inside the lobby whereas I went inside, hesitating solely briefly to ponder how vulnerable they is probably if a gunman walked in and opened hearth — a reminder that our protected home now appeared fraught.

I acknowledged solely a handful of the roughly 150 people inside the viewers. The event had drawn of us from the church and temple equally, and probably members of most of the people as successfully. It was good to see our sanctuary full of people.

Rev. Mark Pettis from Manhattan Seaside Group Church and Rabbi Joshua Kalev from Congregation Tikvat Jacob led the dialogue, quoting from each religion’s respective scriptures to produce a faith-based context to at current’s immigration debate.

We inside the viewers carried the dialogue alongside, thoughtfully, respectfully — and even with some laughs.

Jewish temple members chimed in when Pettis talked about a verse from Romans that had been utilized by then-Lawyer Regular Jeff Courses to defend family separation on the border, marveling at how the earlier Alabama senator had omitted the rest of the verse, which exalted love and hospitality for strangers above all else.

Christian churchgoers offered views on Kalev’s excerpts from centuries-old Jewish commentary. Energetic discussions adopted about assimilation, finding out the native language, moral obligations.

In an age of onerous strains normally outlined by religion – the “religious correct” and the “Jewish left” – there was no telling that night who represented what. Appears, our scriptures have additional commonalities than variations.

As I appeared throughout the room, I tried to find out the sides. Are you from the church or the temple? Christian or Jew? And one factor struck me.

Every man inside the sanctuary wore a “kipah,” the traditional Jewish head overlaying that is anticipated to be worn in temple. Pettis, the reverend, wore one, too. Christian? Jewish? I couldn’t inform. Every man – even the Christians, who would possibly merely have forgone the observe with out elevating an eyebrow – made the selection to placed on the highest overlaying.

I could not take into consideration a bigger act of solidarity.

That night, there have been no sides. There have been no strangers. There was solely love and group and cohesion. For the first time since Pittsburgh, my synagogue felt protected.

Renee Moilanen is a contract creator based in Redondo Seaside. Her column publishes in print every completely different Saturday.

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