Upon arriving in Omaha five years ago I knew we had found an incredible community. Omaha has stellar schools, a philanthropic culture, low unemployment, the best zoo in the US and a high quality of living…just to name a few of the many wonderful characteristics of our community. Yet one of the aspects of the community that surprised me the most was the lack of racial diversity.
In my time at Beth El I have searched out ways to be active and involved in North and South Omaha, predominantly minority and immigrant populations. Whether it building relationships with clergy in North and South Omaha or becoming involved with individual families through my association with the Boys and Girls Clubs. The families that live in North and South Omaha may not be our neighbors, they may not be in our social circles or send their kids to the same schools, yet the parents in these communities have the same hopes and dreams for their childrens future. They pray for their children’s wellbeing, they care about their education and that they are safe whether at school or at play.
In the midst of the recent violence across the country, along with other community clergy, including Rev. Jan Peterson of Augustana Lutheran Church, Pastor Tony Sanders – Koinania House of Worship and IMA, Rev. Marshall Johnson of St. Luke United Methodist and other clergy and lay leaders, we have planned an Interfaith Solidarity Service for Thursday, August 4th at Augustana Lutheran Church (N. 38th & Lafayette) 6-7pm.
This is one of the few events outside our building, outside the Jewish Community that I strongly encourage you to attend. Many have asked what they can do to help, being present on August 4th is an important first step.
The service will last an hour, with a few faith leaders speaking, including myself. In addition, we will list the names of all those in Omaha who have been killed in 2015-2016, as El Malei is recited by Hazzan Krausman.
I hope to see you on August 4th.