Guest Op-Ed: Three faiths united against violence

December 11, 2013 Editorial Staff
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The three major confessional faith traditions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – united last month in Bay Ridge, in a unique interfaith service commemorating the 75th year since Kristallnacht, an organized pogrom on November 9 and 10, 1938, when 236 Jews were murdered and over 30,000 were arrested and taken to concentration camps.

Art on the Corner and Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd hosted the Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Prayer – Hope Out of Brokenness – on November 9 in collaboration with Rabbi Dina Rosenberg of Bay Ridge Jewish Center, Reverend Donald Stiger of Lutheran HealthCare Office of Mission & Spirituality, Dr. Ahmed Jaber of the Arab American Association of New York, Deacon Greg Dixon of St. Andrew the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, and Reverend David Rommereim of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.

The moving service of reflection was accompanied by Celtic chants — sung simultaneously in English, Arabic and Hebrew — and other songs, prayers and blessings, including the Havdalah ceremony of Judaism marking the end of Shabbat.

It also offered a message of hope, hope in a creator who unites, a God of light, peace and love. We sampled a taste of that throughout the evening as congregants of three faith traditions and other community members united in a public stand against violence and oppression.

Moreover, the commemoration occurred on the eve of another related event – a Sunday, November 9 concert by Bella Voce Singers that marked the official opening of the Anne Frank Exhibit on loan from the Anne Frank Center USA.

Frank has long been a symbol of hope amidst state oppression. The standing-room-only performance featured the powerful choral composition of Linda Tutas Haugen’s “Anne Frank: A Living Voice with string quartet,” set to words from the diary of Anne Frank. Other artists along with the Children’s Chorus of Bay Ridge performed their own expression of hope.

More information about the Anne Frank Center can be found at:

Brita Rose is a freelance writer and works with the faith and immigrant community in NYC.  She has an M.A. in International Relations from the CUNY Graduate Center.

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