Ours is a diverse and, sadly, much too divided community. The most obvious sign of this division is the existence of two boards of rabbis — one for the Orthodox and one for everyone else. Rarely do the twain meet. Rarely do any of the individual segments of our community consider the needs of the other. “Their” concerns and not “our” concerns.
Whether this is a proper attitude is for another forum. This message is about a Conservative synagogue and a Reconstructionist one, but it is also about all of us at the same time, regardless of affiliation (or the lack thereof).
Two weeks ago, the Reconstructionist synagogue in Maywood was vandalized in ways we have not seen of late in our areas. A week later, the same kind of vandalism occurred in Hackensack, at Temple Beth El, a Conservative shul.
This is a time for the entire community — regardless of our sectarian views — to come together in solidarity. This is the time for rabbis of all streams to join together as leaders of one community, standing up to those who would attack us in any way.
Hate does not know from Orthodox or Reform. Hate only knows “Jew.” The vandals who attacked the two synagogues knew only that they were attacking Jewish religious institutions, not that they were taking sides in a sectarian debate.
The early American patriot and politician John Dickinson, in “Freedom Song,” wrote, “By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!”
Jews have always understood that instinctively. Now we must live it, not just understand it.
This Tuesday evening, December 27, at 7:00 p.m., there will be a coming together in solidarity at Temple Beth El, 280 Summit Avenue in Hackensack. Because it is also the last night of Chanukah, the gathering is being called a Service of Re-dedication. Government officials, a JCRC representative, and interfaith clergy will participate in the program.
How wonderful it would be if intrafaith clergy would also participate.
In any case, we urge all our readers to “come together in solidarity as one communal voice against hatred,” in the words of the JCRC.
“By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!”