**A Community Prayer Vigil will be held on Tuesday, June 30 at 6 p.m. at the Worcester Town Hall. At the event, the local community, led by Worcester faith leaders along with the Worcester Clergy/Police Partnership, will pray for the victims, families and community of Charleston, S.C.
On Sunday, June 21, Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough hosted an interfaith vigil in solidarity with the Community of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. The event featured faith leaders from the interfaith communities of Westborough and Northborough.
“We mourn deeply as we take in the news of the mass shooting at ‘Mother Emmanuel’ African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, SC while peaceful people of faith were engaged in Bible study together,” said a statement from the organizers. “Whether it’s Sikhs in a gurdwara, Muslims in a mosque beginning the season of Ramadan, Jews in a synagogue, or Christians meeting for weekly prayer and Bible study, we denounce the violence, and stand with the families and communities impacted. As communities of faith we must lead the way in bringing people from different backgrounds together to learn from and with each other. These strong bonds make us resilient in the face of hatred and violence. Together, we can make a difference. Our hearts go out to the people of “Mother Emmanuel” Church and the communities of Charleston, S.C.”
More than 20 organizations around Central Mass., including the Jewish Federation of Central Mass., participated in the event.
Now a broad coalition of organizations representing all the various movements within the Jewish community call for Shabbat reflection on racism in society and support for the African-American community
In a display of unity, a broad cross-section of American Jewish organizations have joined to declare this coming Shabbat, beginning the evening of Friday, June 26 and ending the evening of June 27, to be a “Shabbat of solidarity with the African-American community.” In light of the horrific act of violence in Charleston, South Carolina, leaders across the North American Jewish community are asking their members to participate in this Sabbath of solidarity.
Among the suggested actions for rabbis, congregations and organizations, are to speak out in synagogues this coming Shabbat on the issue of racism in society and to express rejection of hateful extremism. All rabbis and congregations are encouraged to reach out to AME churches in their communities with expressions and demonstrations of support.
“The Jewish community has long-standing historic ties with the African American community going back to the Civil Rights era,” explained Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, rabbi of Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, Maryland, convener of the coalition and president of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America. “This Shabbat of solidarity is just the latest example of us standing together in the face of bigotry and hatred. We stand together, as a united American Jewish community in calling for a Shabbat of important introspection and examination of racism in the United States. We hope to convey our support to the African-American community nationwide and show all that we will not stand for violent acts driven by hatred.”
Weinblatt added, “The fact that so many responded so quickly and enthusiastically from so many different movements shows the unity of the Jewish community in reaffirming our commitment to pursue justice for all and the importance of our alliance with the African American community.”
The organizations who have endorsed this call to action include: Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Rabbinical Council of America, Orthodox Union, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, in association with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Rabbinic Cabinet of Jewish Federations of North America, AJC, Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Hillel.
Each of the organizations will be issuing a call to their members and constituents to take positive steps to implement this resolution.