It’s been a trying time, of late, and it appears to be getting worse instead of better – continued acts of violence around the country aimed at Jews, people of color, white churches. I have no solutions or action plans, but I know that we can come together to nurture strength, courage and hope in one another. That is an important part of what we do best.

In the meantime, I hasten to share with you this note that I received from Pastor James Preston at Kingswood United Methodist Church. I responded to him with thanks and gratitude and, in response to his question of what they might do, asked that he and I meet to pursue questions to that answer. My hope is that our conversation will result in a program for our two communities in the near future.

Dear Rabbi Belgrad:

Blessings and peace to you! Please know that our hearts are heavy here at Kingswood as we learned of the attack on those gathered for Hanukkah in Monsey, New York.  We are outraged at this act of anti-Semitism and hatred.  We are saddened that there have been increased attacks and acts of anti-Semitism in many places. Please know we are praying for the Jewish community around the world, for our dear friends at B’Chavana, and for you and your leadership.  We also commit ourselves fully to work against anti-Semitism and be in solidarity with your community. Please let us know what our congregation can do to stand with you. Much love and peace to you!

God’s Peace,

Rev. James Preston, Lead Pastor
Kingswood Church

Even against the backdrop of the anger and hatred permeating a lot of our country – and mindful of this message of love – Susan and I wish you a happy and healthy new year.