Congregation B’nai B’rith Night of Solidarity | Edhat

Posted By on November 26, 2018

By Robert Bernstein

Congregation B'nai B'rith hosted a Night of Solidarity to bring thecommunity together in the wake of a series of hate crimes around thecountry. Notably, the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.But other hate crimes as well.

Here are my photos,videos and event program.

The most notable aspect of the event was the sheer turnout of peoplefrom our community!

We were coming there from the Wake Center about two miles away. Assoon as we were on Cathedral Oaks Road we were in a traffic jam ofpeople streaming to the Temple!

We managed to find a spot on the floor to sit, but those who cameafter us had to listen from the lobby or beyond! It was heartwarmingto see the outpouring of support in our community!

We were welcomed in by Cantor (singer) Mark Childs performing"Comfort Me" in Hebrew and in English

Congregation B'nai B'rith President Steven Amerikaner talked of thelocal connections that Congregation members had to the Tree of Lifevictims and survivors. He then introduced Congressman Salud Carbajalwho delivered a message of inclusion and solidarity.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson was there to represent ourdistrict. But she also noted that she was there as a member of theCongregation. And especially "as a Jew".

Senator Jackson spoke of a neighbor hurling an anti-Semitic insult ather as she went about her business in her front yard as a teen inNewton, Massachusetts. She said that verbal assault still rings inher ears to this day.

I might note that in 1965 we were living in rural New England. Myfather took a job at the University of Maryland and we moved to thecity of New Carrollton near the campus. My brother and I were the newkids in the school and we seemed to be welcomed in. My brother waselected class president. But then people started asking him about ourname "Bernstein". "Are you Jews?" He was beaten up when he said wewere. We were forced to move away.

Fortunately, we found refuge in the city of Silver Spring on the DCborder which was a more diverse and inclusive community.

I am grateful for my positive memories growing up in Silver Springwith people of all races, religions, ethnicities, and colors. But itis hard to forget what it felt like to be forced to move for purehatred only for who we were by birth.

Hannah-Beth spoke of the Tree of Life members welcoming immigrants.Which seemed to be a special reason their temple was a target forviolence. Senator Jackson reminded us that almost all of us wereimmigrants. And that many early immigrants to America were not verynice to the actual Natives.

She went on to note the diversity of the crowd in solidarity for theevening. And she thanked those from other religions who were inattendance. And those from no faith at all. She urged us to turn hateinto love. Into kindness, more importantly.

Pastor Denise Leichter is President of Greater Santa Barbara ClergyAssociation and she echoed that message of inclusiveness.

Rabbi Daniel Brenner delivered a memorial service for those who weremurdered at the Tree of Life temple.

Then there was a memorial candle lighting with a number ofrepresentatives of our community. Including Santa Barbara Mayor CathyMurillo, Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte, Santa Barbara Police Chief LoriLuhnow, Unitarian Minister Julia Hamilton and County Supervisor Janet Wolf.

Then Rabbi Stephen Cohen delivered the keynote address of the gathering.

He bravely mentioned Donald Trump and his language that inciteshatred, division, and violence. Some in the audience applauded hiscourage in making this statement. For many, the hate speech of DonaldTrump was the elephant in the room that was being ignored.

But Rabbi Cohen quickly shut that down with a wave and anadmonishment that this was not his point. He went on to talk of along history of hate and division before Trump was elected. Includingin the year before he was elected. He urged us to come together inlove and community to move forward to a better future.

The event closed with a final song by Cantor Mark Childs

The congregation was filled with people embracing as he sang.

See the rest here:
Congregation B'nai B'rith Night of Solidarity | Edhat

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