September 20, 2019

Interfaith service celebrates first night of Chanukah and World AIDS Day

On Dec. 1, the first night of Chanukah, Jewish and Christian clergy came together for a one-hour service to kick off the Festival of Lights and celebrate World AIDS Day.

World AIDS Day, an international health day, raises awareness about HIV/AIDS and falls on Dec. 1 every year.

The Los Angeles Queer Clergy Council organized the service, titled Interfaith Service of Compassionate Action and held at the Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles.

Approximately 40 people attended the service, which featured sermons, choral music and a candle lighting ceremony to commemorate victims of HIV/AIDS. Several chanukiyahs stood out amid the church’s Christian decor.

Clergy recited prayers for the HIV/AIDS community. “We’ll call aloud the names of our friends, our families, our partners and loved ones,” said Rabbi Denise Eger of West Hollywood congregation Kol Ami.  “Hear our prayers, oh, God, on this day, World AIDS Day, heal the broken places, restore your people, and give us your peace.”

The Rev. Neil Thomas of the Metropolitan Community Church, taking the stage shortly after Eger, used a Chanukah metaphor to describe communities that stand up for compassionate social action for people living with AIDS or HIV, calling them “a light in the darkness that shines for more than eight days.”