Community invited to Houston Interfaith Thanksgiving Service – Jewish Herald-Voice

Posted By on November 12, 2021

Congregation Beth Yeshuruns Rabbi Steve Morgen and his wife, Cantor Diane Dorf, will be this years Jewish representatives at the 36th-annual Houston Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m., at St. Philip Presbyterian Church, 4807 San Felipe St.

Religious leaders from nine faiths will share texts related to giving thanks from their own traditions. The event is sponsored by the Ecumenism Commission of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

The theme this year is The Gift of Life.

While G-d manifests in different ways for different people, all religions give thanks, organizer Garland Pohl told the JHV. I hope in the future that we come together around common experiences like this Thanksgiving Service to make friends who we can rely upon each others support during challenging times.

Rabbi Morgen and Cantor Dorf are collaborating on their joint presentation. Cantor Dorf will chant three traditional morning blessings, thanking G-d for waking our souls and our bodies, and Rabbi Morgen will explain and interpret these blessings.

Rabbi Morgen has been involved with interfaith dialogue groups for many years, including as a board member of Interfaith Ministries, a contributor for programs at the Muslim Turquoise Center, and as a participant in several other groups of faith leaders who are committed to building a better understanding between peoples of all faiths.

Rabbi Morgen strongly believes in the power of dialogue as a way to heal the world.

Our society today is very polarized, Rabbi Morgen told the JHV. People are isolated into homogenous groups. When we dont interact with people of other faiths, there is a tendency for us to wonder what they think about us and fear the worst. And they, in turn, may wonder and fear what we think, believe and do. Fear can then lead to hostility.

By interacting with each other, we can break down barriers and realize that we are all human beings with much in common. We all want to improve our world, to be fair, honest and just.

Social media can enable this isolation and hinder us from having real interaction with people not like ourselves. Interfaith events broaden our own perspective and allow us to think more clearly about our own faith and be more accepting of people of other faiths.

Cantor Dorf emphasized that, in addition to giving thanks in prayer, Judaism commands us to give thanks through tzedakah.

At Thanksgiving, we can share our food and volunteer in ways that help those in need, Cantor Dorf told the JHV.

Rabbi Morgen emphasized the point. Judaism is about not just saying words but also taking action, he said. The Talmud teaches us to honor parents, do deeds of loving kindness, visit the sick, study, make peace between each other and many more acts of loving kindness.

One of my favorite quotes by [Rabbi] Abraham Joshua Heshel is A Jew is asked to take a leap of action rather than a leap of faith. And it is so much better if we can take that leap of action with people of other faiths. That has a multiplying effect that is more than the sum of its parts.

To register for the event or watch a live-stream, go to saintphilip.net/Interfaith.html, COVID protocols for wearing masks and social distancing will be observed.

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Community invited to Houston Interfaith Thanksgiving Service - Jewish Herald-Voice

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