Clergy, community come together for 'healing' forum at Saint Rose

October 31, 2018 06:43 PM

Albany County hosted what it called a "Healing Moments Forum" on Wednesday. One of the messages there was to turn your anger into action. The intent was to begin a community dialogue.

At the same time, area clergy are being asked to become horticulturalists of healing. They're expected to plant the seeds of tolerance throughout the community.


In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh massacre, a journey down the road of healing began in the Capital Region with an interfaith panel discussion.

"Our faith in a loving God who created us all reminds us that we belong to each other as members of one human family," said Rev. Jim Kane, with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

It's a human family that exists in a world of rising hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism. It's a sad reality that angers and infuriates a civilized society.

"I think the anger is helpful when we turn it into action. If we're angry about it -- and many of us are, then we should turn it into action," said Cantor Jodi Schechtman, with Congregation Beth Emeth.

Even though the event was not intended to be political, there were political inferences and overtones.

"The rhetoric that's going on in our country is, unfortunately, feeding to the wrong wolf inside everybody," said Imam Dr. Abdulkadir Elmi, with As Al Salaam Mosque.

"The rhetoric is a problem. I don't know how to change it," said Rabbi Deborah Gordon, with Congregation Berith Sholom.

Gordon says she sees her mission in the healing process as bringing people together.

"The best organizer is a bad boss and since November 2016, I have seen more people get out and be active than I've seen at any other time in my life. That makes me optimistic," she noted.

"I think for many Americans, they're beginning to look at it and say words do matter and we have to do something about it," said Rev. Monshin Paul Naamon, with Tendai Buddhist Institute.

In a faith community, there is always an abundance of optimism.

"I think I'm most encouraged about the thousands and thousands of acts of love and caring," said Schechtman.

"Evil collapses under its own weight eventually," said Gordon.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy organized Wednesday's event.

Next, clergy members will head back to their respective mosques, churches and synagogues to continue spreading the word that diversity needs to be embraced and hatred can never be tolerated.


Dan Levy

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