Outpouring of Love

Nov 07, 2018

To the Editor:

This past Wednesday, in response to the murder of 11 Jewish people during prayer services in a Pittsburgh synagogue, who were targeted solely because they were Jewish, I posted the following on my Facebook page:

The best way to combat the darkness of hate is with the light of love. We can begin to heal the broken world with the love of self, the love of others, the love of community, the love of tradition, and the love of God. This coming Shabbat (Sabbath) let the JCC of LBI provide the light and the love; let us respond to the hate and violence with love and unity. If you need a space to think, to pray, to be in community – come join us. Jews and non-Jews, regular synagogue attendees and those who have never set foot in a synagogue, all are welcome.

One is never quite sure how such an invitation will be received. In this case, the uncertainty was further increased because the request was made on LBI months after the summer season.

I cannot express in mere words how incredibly moved I was by the community’s response. Indeed, the sanctuary of the Jewish Community Center was filled for the interfaith services we held on both Friday and Saturday. Jews and non-Jews prayed together in peaceful solidarity. As a community we prayed, sang, cried, cared, loved, harmonized and began the process of healing.

Psalm 133 expresses what I felt as I looked out upon the beautiful multifaith souls: “Behold, How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity.” I express my deepest gratitude and humblest thanks to my brothers who were present and helped me to bring comfort: Father John Frambes, Pastor William McGowan and Pastor Roy Minnix.

The outpouring of love from, and between, faith communities has helped to forge a bond that I know will not be broken.

We each carry the light of God’s love and mercy. One person’s light can push away the darkness, but many lights together can make sure that the darkness does not return.

At a time of unspeakable sadness, we have comforted each other and created hope. As Elie Wiesel famously said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.”

The JCC of Long Beach Island extends its many thanks to each faith community on LBI. We felt hugged by the Holy One. We are a blessed community.

Shalom u’vrakha (peace and blessings).

Rabbi Michael S. Jay

Jewish Community Center of LBI

Spray Beach

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