Sinai Temple vigil unites police, clergy for “healing in tragic times” [VIDEO]


A week after the murder of five police officers in Dallas and just hours after more than 80 people were killed and 200 wounded from a terrorist attack in Nice, France, Los Angeles rabbis, African-American Christian faith leaders and Los Angeles Police Department officers came together at Sinai Temple on July 14 for a community prayer vigil.

Led by Rabbi David Wolpe, Craig Taubman and Pastor Mark Whitlock, senior minister of Christ Our Redeemer AME church, the evening event had been billed as “a service of devotion and healing in tragic times,” following not only the murder of the Dallas police officers, but also the allegedly racially tinged deaths of two Black men killed by police —Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old killed on July 5 outside a convenience story in Baton Rouge, La. as well as Philando Castile, a 32-year-old killed during a traffic stop Minnesota on July 6. 

The message of the evening: Everybody of all faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds needs to come together as one.

 Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple was among the leaders of a community prayer vigil at the synagogue.

“Everybody you look at is a stranger, a brother and yourself—that’s what we have to learn in order to love,” Wolpe said from the bimah in Sinai’s sanctuary, addressing an audience of more than 300 that included elected officials, Jewish community leaders and others, including Jay Sanderson, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles; Mahomed Khan, director of interfaith outreach at King Fahad Mosque in Culver City; Rev. Damali Najuma Smith-Pollard, program manager of the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, Rabbi Nolan Lebovitz of Adat Shalom and Sinai Temple Rabbi Nicole Guzik.

Over the course of the evening, Taubman and a handful of musicians performed songs in Hebrew, gospel tunes and inspirational pop ballads. Capping the evening off, the crowd sang “We Shall Overcome,” with audience members’ putting their arms around one another and swaying to the music from the pews of the large room. 

Despite the sense of camaraderie permeating the space, tragedy of the terrorist attack in Nice, France was on everyone’s minds. Wolpe address the incident toward the conclusion of the evening, describing events there as “horrific” and saying, “hearts go out to the wounded, their family and friends and to the entire nation [of France].”

Nearly 25 organizations, the majority of them Jewish, served as co-sponsors of the event. 

“Alone we are strong, [but] tonight is a reminder that together we are stronger,” Taubman told the Journal.

Craig Taubman and Jay Sanderson attended the vigil at Sinai Temple.

“I’m proud that within less than a week we were able to get close to 400 people together in prayer and unity,” Guzik said in an interview. She said a Sinai Temple lay leader had approached the synagogue’s clergy about the need to do something involving both law enforcement and race relations in the wake of numerous tragedies in the country. 

“Our community feels helpless… [after the] Dallas shooting. We said, ‘Forget it, we can’t just sit here because now riots are happening in every city. We have to stand up and do something,’” Guzik said.

Paul Cunningham blew the shofar at the start of the event. Later, Beit T’Shuvah Head Rabbi Mark Borovitz, Temple Emanuel Rabbi Jonathan Aaron and others stood at the top of the bimah’s stairs under a chuppah held up by young students of Sinai Akiba Academy, as well as children from local churches, with Borovitz, Aaron and other local leaders saying words of prayer and hope. The shofar blower, Cunningham, returned to the bimah at the end of the night and once again blew the ram’s horn, this time to close the event. 

Exiting the sanctuary, Julie Platt, chairman of the L.A. Federation, said she was happy she had attended.  “This was a wonderful convening—we all needed it,” she said. “Especially after the news of today.”

At Beth Chayim Chadashim, remembering the victims of Pulse with prayers and tears


There were tears. There was solidarity. There was singing. There was hope. There was love.

More than 100 people gathered at Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC) for a vigil held in honor of the victims of the June 12 shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando. Police officers stood outside the synagogue, as did security guards. People were given name tags as they came in so it could be verified that they had gone through the security.

Obama consoles Connecticut town hit by school massacre


U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday consoled the Connecticut town shattered by the massacre of 20 young schoolchildren, lauding residents' courage in the face of tragedy and saying the United States was not doing enough to protect its children.

“Surely we can do better than this,” Obama told a packed high school auditorium.

The emotional prayer vigil capped a day when worshippers sought solace in churches to mourn the victims of Friday's slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman used a military-style assault rifle to kill six adults and 20 first-graders before committing suicide.

All the dead children were either 6 or 7 years old, feeding more emotion into a revived debate about whether stricter gun laws could prevent future mass shootings in the United States.

“Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of the nation,” Obama said. “I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.”

Obama spoke the names of the Sandy Hook school staff members who died on Friday and lauded their courage.

“They responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances. With courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care,” Obama said.

Parents and children filled the Newtown High School auditorium for the evening vigil. Some of the children clutched stuffed animals and Red Cross blankets issued to ward off the cold.

“I think it's a good thing. I think it'll help this town begin to heal,” Curt Brantl, 47, said of Obama's visit before the president spoke.

“It's a sign of hope that the leader of our country comes here and shows support,” said Brantl, whose daughter, Tess, 9, was at Sandy Hook during the shooting. “We're turning the corner, and there's a lot of hope now.”

A more detailed picture of Adam Lanza's stunning attack emerged on Sunday. Police said the shooter was armed with hundreds of bullets in high-capacity magazines of about 30 rounds each for the Bushmaster AR 15 rifle and two handguns he carried into the school, and had a fourth weapon, a shotgun, in his car outside.

While townspeople grieved, investigators examined forensic evidence and scoured the crime scene in a process likely to extend for weeks.

Some of the bodies have been turned over to families, state police Lieutenant Paul Vance said.

“We have the best of the best working on this case. … Our goal is to paint a complete picture so that we all know and the public knows exactly what happened here,” Vance said.

Painting part of that picture, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said the gunman shot his way through a school door “using several rounds” before beginning to kill adults and children inside, then killed himself as police closed in.

“He discharged to make an opening and then went through it, went to the first classroom … went to the second classroom. We surmise that it was during the second classroom episode that he heard responders coming and apparently at that, decided to take his own life,” Malloy said on the ABC show “This Week.”

A Shabbat prayer for the victims of the Sikh shooting


This prayer was written to recite for the victims and survivors of the Aug. 5 shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin.  Rabbi Naomi Levy, spiritual leader of Nashuva, wrote the prayer on behalf of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, which distributed it to congregations around the world.

Let Us Stand Up Together (נעמדה יחד)
–From our Haftarah this Shabbat, the second Haftarah of comfort (Isaiah 50:8)

We stand together in grief
For the innocent victims
Of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin
Who perished in their house of prayer.
May their memories be a blessing,
May their lights shine brightly on us.

We stand together in mourning
For broken hearts,
The senseless loss, the shock, the emptiness.

We stand together in outrage,
Weary of this war-torn hate-filled world.
And together we pray:

Send comfort, God, to grieving families,
Hear their cries.
Fill them with the courage
To carry on in the face of this tragic loss.
Send healing to the wounded,
Lift them up, ease their pain,
Restore them to strength, to hope, to life.
Gather the sacred souls of the slaughtered
Into Your eternal shelter,
Let them find peace in Your presence, God.

Work through us, God,
Show us how to help.
Open our hearts so we can comfort the mourning,
Open our arms so we can extend our hands,
Transform our helplessness into action,
Turn the prayers of our souls into acts of kindness and compassion.

Let us stand up together
Our young and our old,
All races and faiths,
All people and nations.
Rise up above hatred
And cruelty and indifference.
Let us live up to our goodness
Let us learn from this tragedy
Let us walk together
Filled with hope
On a path of peace, Amen.

– by Rabbi Naomi Levy

Giffords attends vigil marking attack anniversary


Rep. Gabrielle Giffords led the Pledge of Allegiance at a vigil marking the one-year anniversary of an attack on the congresswoman and her constituents at a political event.

Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, attended the candlelight vigil Sunday night at the University of Arizona to mark the attack. Bells at churches and private homes rang out throughout Tucson at 10:11 a.m. Sunday morning, the time that the attack took place one year ago.

The commemoration also included an interfaith prayer service at a local church, during which a shofar was blown by a rabbi.

During the day, Giffords and Kelly also walked a short way on a trail in nearby Davidson Canyon named for one of the victims, Gabe Zimmerman, a former aide to Giffords.

Six people were killed and a dozen injured in the attack in Tucson by alleged gunman Jared Lee Loughner.

Giffords, the first Jewish woman elected to the Congress from Arizona, was shot in the head and continues to undergo intensive therapy. The three-term Democrat is planning to run again if her health permits it, according to reports.

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges connected with the shooting. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but was found fit to stand trial.

Jewish group visits Native American vigil in Bay Area


A dozen San Francisco Bay Area Jews visited an ongoing protest at a Native American burial site.

The Jews, who are affiliated with several congregations and social action groups in Berkeley, Calif., billed Sunday’s visit as a cultural exchange timed to Mother’s Day.

“We wanted to support the Native people trying to protect their sacred site and reflect upon similar experiences we have had with our sacred places,” said Wendy Kenin, who organized the event. “We hope that nurturing our natural alliance with them will help remind us of our own connections with the land of Israel and burial sites of our ancestors.”

Since mid-April, Native Americans have been maintaining a protest vigil at Glen Cove Waterfront Park, a 15-acre stretch of shorefront land northeast of San Francisco slated for development. Plans call for building a parking lot and other construction on top of a burial ground that has been used by several local tribes since 1500 BCE, according to University of California researchers.

Kenin says the Native Americans at the site told the visitors that “this is the resting place of our grandmothers and grandfathers.”

The Jewish visitors shared their religious beliefs regarding death and respect for ancestors, and explained why Jews visit their relatives’ graves.

Members of the Ohlone, Miwok, Pomo and other local tribes consider the development proposal a violation of their religious rights. They note it is the last of their local burial sites not yet paved over. Several clashes with police since the vigil began have ended without incident.

Shots Fired in Pico-Robertson


A gang-related drive-by shooting in the heart of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood late Sunday night left members of the Jewish community rattled and shocked.

No one was injured when 13-15 shots were fired on the 1600 block of Wooster Street, which is one block east of Robertson Boulevard and two blocks south of Pico Boulevard. The heavily Jewish neighborhood has seen a rise in gang activity recently, with graffiti tagging popping up on buildings and signs and a shooting at a neighborhood park last year.

Neighborhood activists organized a candlelight vigil at the park Thursday night, and are working to galvanize rabbis and members of the Jewish community to help stop the infiltration of violence.

For a full story and update, visit www.jewishjournal.com on Friday, June 9.

 

Community Brief


Discrimination Suit Tossed Out

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit in which tenants alleged a Jewish landlord evicted them for sharing their apartment with a non-Jew. U.S. District Court Judge Gary Allen Feess threw out the lawsuit on technical grounds, saying the tenants should have raised the discrimination claim in an earlier legal proceeding.

The suit by Lawrence “Chaim” Stein alleged that he was wrongly evicted in 2004 by the board of Torat Hayim, a nonprofit that manages a Pico-Robertson school and synagogue as well as a handful of apartments.

Stein, who is Orthodox, was sharing the apartment with a non-Jewish friend. Stein’s central piece of evidence was a voice mail left by one of the defendants that seemed to chide him because he “rented to a goy.”

The trial never got that far because of how Stein handled the initial appeal of his eviction. Stein got his eviction overturned on a rent-control issue, but his court papers omitted the discrimination claim. By the time he won the appeal, Stein was living elsewhere and his old apartment, in the 8800 block of Alcott Street, had new tenants. Thus, getting back the apartment was a moot issue, but Stein decided to raise the discrimination claim in federal court and pursue damages.

Feess wouldn’t go for it.

“Whether or not a claim was actually litigated in a prior dispute, it cannot be raised in a second suit if it was within the scope of the prior dispute,” Feess wrote in his decision.

“He should have appealed on all the grounds” raised in the initial eviction, including discrimination, said Stacy Sokol, an attorney who is authorized to speak for Torat Hayim even though Sokol did not handle the court case.

“You don’t get a second bite at the apple,” said Sokol, who asserted that the real reason was eviction was nonpayment of rent.

Stein’s attorney, Raymond Zakari, criticized the ruling.

“Evictions are summary proceedings for landlords to recover possession of their real property, not a forum for these issues,” Zakari said. — Bobbi Murray, Contributing Writer

Anti-Jewish Rally Fizzles

A handful of neo-Nazis was outnumbered and out-shouted at what they called a “rally for justice and peace” outside the Simon Wiesenthal Center on July 29.

A Holocaust denial group, the Newport Beach-based Institute for Historical Review, staged the noon rally outside the center’s Pico Boulevard headquarters, across the street from the Museum of Tolerance. The event attracted no more than eight Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazi supporters. The crowd also included Orthodox high school boys who absorbed the event’s mosh-pit energy, anti-Nazi socialists and anti-they-were-not-exactly sure-what progressives.

The intersection at Pico Boulevard and Doheny Drive eventually became balkanized. Some media, six cops and the neo-Nazi/Holocaust deniers occupied the corner in front of the Wiesenthal Center.

Another corner held those who were both anti-Nazi and anti-Israel. One woman shouted: “Everyone who is not a Holocaust denier but is against what Israel stands for — go across the street!”

A Jewish Defense League contingent stood at a third corner, and at the fourth corner were assembled about seven pro-Israel/anti-JDL Jews.

The half-dozen JDL members were the most volatile; one hit a young protestor with a long Old Glory flagpole. Police are investigating that alleged battery.

Two African American women accepted and carried anti-Israel placards from Holocaust deniers, who denied that they were Holocaust deniers. Seeing this, an elderly Jewish women shouted: “Go back to the South!” The sight of Jews yelling at blacks prompted smiles among the Holocaust deniers.

The women returned the placards after getting more information about the protest organizers.

The event fizzled within one, loud hour. — David Finnigan, Contributing Writer

Vigil for Darfur Draws 500-Plus

More than 500 people attended a late July vigil at the Federal Building in Westwood, where Jews and non-Jews held a candlelight protest against the ongoing genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region.

“Folks, time is running out,” said Armenian American activist Armen Carapetian, who likened the situation in Darfur to the past century’s Armenian genocide.

The early evening rally signified an expansion of Darfur activism in the Jewish community, spurred on by Jewish World Watch, based at Valley Beth Shalom temple. The Conservative Encino shul’s leader, Rabbi Harold Shulweis, was among the speakers, who also included Rabbi Sharon Brous of the Westside IKAR congregation.

“I don’t want to stand here next summer,” Brous said, “and say, ‘Another year has gone. What have we done?'”

Human-rights experts estimate that 300,000 villagers have been killed since 2003 by Arab janjaweed horsemen tacitly supported by the Sudanese government.

The drive-time rally was a little smaller and more secular than a day of fasting held on May 26, when about 600 Southern California Jews attended Darfur events at synagogues in Pico-Robertson, Bel Air and Pasadena. Sponsors of the event at the Federal Building included Protestant, African immigrant, Catholic and Armenian groups.

Participants took part in making murals, singing and playing instruments and signing White House-bound petitions.

“It’s my sister’s birthday, and she asked that we all come here for this,” said Sarah Ham-Rosbrock, whose family, including her 28-year-old sister Lena, attends Temple Israel of Long Beach.

“I’m involved because I am black,” said homeless activist Ted Hayes, a speaker.

Progressive Jewish Alliance board member Eric Greene said Jews must be more involved in non-Jewish issues such as Darfur, even when the effort seems futile.

“It’s so daunting because it feels so big that it’s hard to know what you can do,” he said. — DF

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Jewish Chaplain Need Faces Obstacles


 

For more than two years, Norma Glickman led a mostly solitary vigil as she sat by her husband’s bedside during his all too frequent hospitalizations.

It was not until the day he died, and only after he took his last breath, that a nurse finally asked her if she would like to meet with a Jewish chaplain.

As Glickman recounts it, the spiritual support and comfort that she and her husband needed was not offered until it was too late.

There may be a number of explanations as to why the Glickmans didn’t have access to a Jewish chaplain, including the fact that as Norma states, “I didn’t know it was something I could have requested.”

However, even if the request had been made, it’s questionable whether or not a Jewish chaplain would have been available.

The fact is that there is a significant and recognized shortage of qualified Jewish chaplains. As the need for their services grows, we as a community need to re-examine and remove the obstacles that have long hindered the growth of this profession.

On Jan. 9, I attended a four-day conference in Philadelphia sponsored by the National Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC). More than 100 chaplains from all over the United States and Israel attended. Discussions andworkshops ranged from professional interests, such as the possible collaboration with other similar groups forming common certification standards, to the more highly charged, including looking at domestic violence in Jewish families, facing the reality of long-term care, elder abuse, etc.

The chaplains were a most idealistic group, and their energy and enthusiasm for the works of chesed that they do was palpable. Whether it was military chaplains who described miraculous healing stories on the front lines, or those who worked in various public and private institutions, they all shared a conviction that their work was vital, and it gave them a sense of meaning and fulfillment.

At the same time, their dedication to their profession was tempered by the reality of a limited job market and the challenge of upgrading the status of their profession. As one participant remarked, “I’m frustrated by the fact that so many people need our services, and yet institutions simply aren’t hiring.” This is particularly distressing given the growing need for trained professionals in this field.

In 2002, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles released a report titled, “Service to Jews in Institutions.” This important work examined the services provided to Jews in the prison system, hospitals, nursing homes and hospices. However, it also noted that there are other “vulnerable populations,” including Jews living in residential recovery programs, those living in shelters, as well as Jewish seniors and disabled living independently.

The report cited statistics from the Los Angeles Jewish Population Survey ’97, including the fact the number of Jews in Los Angeles older than 65 grew from 11.1 percent to 20.4 percent in 1997 (with 4,500 living in residential facilities), and that “almost one in five households reported that someone in the household had been hospitalized in the preceding year.” These numbers are sure to grow as baby boomers age and advances in health care prolong life expectancy.

Among the report’s findings was the fact that there were “deficits in the number of chaplains and parachaplains” and, as a result, one of the suggestions made was to “conduct a training program for both ordained clergy and nonordained Jews that gives them the skills and knowledge needed for chaplaincy.”

At the Academy for Jewish Religion, CA (AJR, CA), we took the report findings and, particularly, the latter recommendation very seriously. As a result, AJR, CA, established a Jewish Chaplaincy Program in 2003.

This program is two academic years, plus one summer, with a year’s practicum/field work and a masters’ thesis among the requirements. The program weaves together an integration of Judaism, training and counseling, human development, the skills to lead relevant liturgical ceremonies, halachic requirements relating to life-cycle events, knowledge of Jewish medical ethics and issues related to the dying, etc.

The graduating student will be capable of working in various settings, but the question is will there be jobs available? For while The Federation study acknowledges the need for Jewish chaplains, a number of obstacles still need to be confronted and overcome.

Low pay and few benefits have been among the negative factors that have contributed to the dearth of chaplains. Related to that, both the medical and insurance industries still adhere to the principle that the healing of the body takes precedence over the less measurable needs of the healing of the soul. This translates into lack of reimbursement to chaplains by insurance companies and the paucity of chaplaincy positions in health care institutions.

In addition, until fairly recently, Jewish chaplains were overwhelmingly ordained rabbis, and there has been resistance among some to accept nonordained colleagues, the feeling being that only clergy have the necessary religious training required to minister in this realm. However, with the opportunities for professional/religious training available, this attitude needs to change.

Indeed, according to Cecille Asekoff, the NAJC’s coordinator, there does seem to be “a trend of nonordained people going into chaplaincy, as compared to 10 or 15 years ago.”

This change is encouraging, because while it may be part of the job description of congregational clergy to visit their sick congregants, not everyone belongs to a synagogue, nor is it just the sick who need their spiritual needs met. In addition, congregational clergy have so many responsibilities already that good intentions aside, many may simply not have the time to do all that they would like in this area.

As the need for qualified Jewish chaplains grows, we as a community must act. The budgetary constraints of nonprofit institutions are a reality that cannot be ignored. But, at the same time, how can we ignore the spiritual comfort of so many of our fellow Jews?

As for Norma Glickman, the experience that she and her late husband went through has had a profound impact on her. Last summer, the former program director for seniors at the Westside JCC applied and was accepted as a first-year student in the AJR, CA’s Jewish Chaplaincy Program.

Rabbi Mel Gottlieb is dean of the Academy for Jewish Religion, California’s Rabbinical School and Chaplaincy Program. He is also a licensed clinical social worker and holds a Ph.D in psychology.

 

Vigil Points to Interfaith Inroads


With Chanukah bracketed by major Christian and Muslim celebrations, last month might have been a propitious time to find common ground between the Abrahamic faiths.

Instead, a pair of incidents occurring within days of each other reveals the breadth of the cultural divide.

Prompted by recent car bombings of two synagogues in Turkey and a mosque in India, local leaders of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths came together for a vigil on Dec. 7 to publicly condemn such acts of violence as "nothing less than vicious murders."

"The Muslim community unequivocally condemns such discriminate and indiscriminate acts of violence against any innocent human being," said Mohannad Molos, a director of the Orange County Islamic Foundation, known as the Mission Viejo mosque, reading a statement that represented 70 Islamic centers in Southern California.

"This is truly a breakthrough moment in local interfaith relations, for to condemn terrorists who kill Jews in synagogues is perceived by Muslim militants as being comparable to treason," said Rabbi Allen Krause, of Aliso Viejo’s Temple Beth El in a message to congregants. "It’s not an easy thing to do."

Even so, the courageous clerics were all but eclipsed by the controversy over an Irvine flag football tournament for young Islamic men with team names such as Intifada, Soldiers of Allah and Mujahideen.

The 29-year-old organizer, Tarek Shawky, conceded the names were chosen without "much forethought" to serve "as a positive source of team pride." Organizers maintain that "intifada," for example, means the universal struggle against oppression, despite its use by various Palestinian groups that promote suicide attacks against Israeli civilians.

Jewish leaders said the names showed cultural insensitivity that risked inciting harmful activity.

"This is taking a political situation that’s explosive and bringing it to the parks of Irvine," said Joyce Greenspan, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in Costa Mesa.

Legally, the city lacks the authority to bar the tournament, Greenspan said. She likened the situation to professional and college teams that dropped names such as Warriors and Crusaders without a threat of legal action but under heightened pressure over cultural awareness.

A similar explanation came from Irvine Mayor Larry Agran, who fielded a call from an angry resident decrying the team names as "hate speech" on public lands.

"There is a moral issue here, not a legal one," said the constituent, who asked not to be identified. "He’s hiding behind political correctness."

Whether the intent was provocative or an instance of jock bravado, "I suspect that many local Muslims are embarrassed by the situation and wish they could exert more influence on the young people involved," Krause said.

The team names are a vivid reminder of the cultural blinders that keep faiths isolated despite their similarities.

The public condemnation against recent bombings of religious centers by leaders of Orange County’s Islamic community grew out of interfaith work begun in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"We perceive ourselves as serving the community and doing humanitarian efforts," said Molos, of the Mission Viejo mosque, which has about 2,000 members. Last spring, congregants from the mosque, Beth El and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Laguna Beach raised a house together in Mexico. The priest and the rabbi recently urged the imam to be more visible opposing acts of violence by Islamic radicals.

"We never viewed our function as doing that," Molos said, leaving public statements about world events to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which maintains a local office in Anaheim. "We felt that was enough."

There is a growing recognition now of the importance of public advocacy, Molos said, noting that the young Muslim community made up of immigrants has been preoccupied with achieving economic certainty. "This is like the Mexican community, focused on putting food on the table," he said.

The Rev. Will Crist, of St. Mary’s, said "Sept. 11 not only knocked down some buildings." It also revealed "our ignorance of people who live around the corner from each other."

He described a conversation between the religious leaders about a scriptural passage that took place at a Laguna Beach restaurant. In the passage, Jesus replies to a question about the most important commandment, saying "to love thy neighbor." "That is as good as a summation of the Quran," said one of the Muslims present.

"We knew we had found a common mountain top," Crist said.

"We’re here to mourn a tragic loss," he continued, "but the greatest leverage we have is here with each other; we become a community.

"We can do this in Southern California," Crist said, "to turn swords into plowshares and live in peace."

Perhaps the next interfaith dialog should take place on the gridiron.

The American-Muslim Experience, a panel discussion featuring five leaders from the local Muslim community, in a panel discussion with Rabbi Arnold Rachlis and the Rev. Fred Plumer of Irvine United Church of Christ, will take place Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m. at University Synagogue in Irvine.

Community Briefs


Makom Ohr Shalom Moves to New Home

Makom Ohr Shalom moved to a new home in the St. Mary’s complex at 5955 Lindley Ave., Tarzana. With St. Mary’s large, newly renovated facilities, the synagogue will be able to hold its alternating rabbi-led and cantor-led Friday night services at the new location, on every Sabbath of the month, as well as all holiday celebrations, including Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. The new and growing children’s religious school will also be held at this location every Sunday morning. (Torah study on Saturday afternoons will continue to meet in private homes on the Westside and in the Valley). — Staff Report

Women and Men in Black Vigil

To commemorate International Women’s Day, in solidarity
with Israeli and Palestinian women struggling for a just peace, Women and Men in
Black are holding a candlelight vigil on Friday, March 8, from 6-8 p.m. “We
stand as partners with Israeli and Palestinian women in their demand to end
violence against Pakistan and Israeli civilians,” the group wrote in a
statement. “We believe that there is no military solution, and call for both
sides to return to the negotiating table.” Candles and black clothing are
requested for the demonstration. For more information, visit www.wib-la.org . — Staff Report