Letter: Synagogue attacks lead to discouragement, hope 

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Editor,

I attended a Community Memorial Gathering (Nov. 1) at Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation for the people who were recently killed at the synagogue in Pittsburgh. In one way I feel discouraged at seeing acts of anti-Semitism rise 58 percent since 2016, but another part of my spirit is hopeful, and here is why.

There were over 1,000 people from all faiths being present to show their support of our Jewish brother and sisters. Over the last year, I have seen acts of support from the Jewish community for the Muslim community and the Muslim community reaching out in support to the Jewish community as well.

This past week we saw people of all faiths build a house for a family through Habitat for Humanity. We have had over 60 people in attendance every Thursday evening of October for Carmel Interfaith Alliance’s “Meet Your Neighbor “series where we had speakers share their beliefs and misconceptions of their faith. The Q & A time, in the end, was valuable as people learned about a faith tradition that they knew very little about.

I am convinced that one of the best ways to decrease prejudice is helping people meet others of another culture or faith tradition. Once we get to know each other as human beings we see how much more we have in common than what divides us.

I am looking forward to our Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla here in Carmel. With the acts of vandalism that this congregation experienced, I am glad we can have our service at the synagogue to show our support for our Jewish brothers and sisters who live in Carmel. This event is open to the public at no charge. We invite people to bring a non-perishable food item as your offering. This food will go to our local food bank. We will have Scripture readings, singers and speakers from different faith traditions celebrating our American holiday of Thanksgiving.

Pastor Jerry Zehr, Carmel, president of the Carmel Interfaith Alliance

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