Interfaith Clergy Mission: One Year Later

This past January marked one year since Federation’s 2018 Interfaith Clergy Mission to Israel. To celebrate, Rabbi Robert Pilavin of Sons of Israel in Manalapan, a participant on the mission, invited fellow trip mates to partake in a festive dinner with each other and with members of the community at large. 
Braving snow and ice to attend the reunion, the interfaith clergy shared some of their most memorable moments from the Israel trip with each other and with the community members attending. It was obvious that the group’s harmony was still very strong, even though some of the trip mates had not seen each other since the mission. 

“The Interfaith Clergy Mission provided a powerful springboard from which Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey will continue to convene a coalition of clergy and people of faith,” says Susan Antman, Executive Director. “The goal is to build relationships, foster trust, and create a strong interfaith community that will support each other in both good times and challenging times ahead.”

One such effort, Antisemitism Here and Now, is a Federation-sponsored program on addressing hate on college campuses and beyond, featuring author, and real-life subject of the movie DENIAL, Deborah Lipstadt. The presentation takes place March 31 at Rutgers Hillel. 

Rabbi March Kline of Monmouth Reform Temple, Tinton Falls, who chairs Federation’s interfaith initiatives, and served as the driving force in pulling together participants in both Federation's 2018 and 2016 interfaith clergy missions to Israel, was unable to attend due to a congregant emergency. He sent his regards through the Interfaith Israel Mission group’s very active WhatsApp chat group. He promised to continue to work on building inter-religious respect, love and cooperation throughout our community, and to continue the beautiful friendship we all share.

Dan Rozett, Federation’s Manager, Community & Israel Engagement added, Federation is supporting a May 1 Interfaith Holocaust Remembrance Program with the Metuchen-Edison Area Interfaith Clergy’ at the Jewish Community Center of Middlesex County in Edison. He noted such events are important opportunities to strengthen existing bridges and build new ones as one way to combat hate across faiths. 

Speaking as a Jewish Federation board member, Joel Krinsky, who is also a Sons of Israel congregant, added the Federation is proud to work together with the interfaith community to create an atmosphere of respect and understanding. 

Back Row: Fr. Ed Zelly, Rev. Jeffrey Roy, Rabbi Nathan Langer, Pastor Dean Brown
Bottom row: Rabbi Robert Pilavin, Dan Rozett, Pastor Joe Gratzel, Fr. John Mason Lock 



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