Randolph Shoa event revives interfaith body
Staff Writer, New Jersey Jewish News
Randolph will hold its first-ever interfaith Holocaust Memorial Service on Wednesday, April 28.
Maud Dahme, a Jewish Holocaust survivor who was sheltered by a Christian family in Holland, will speak at Saint Matthew the Apostle Parish of the Roman Catholic Church in a program sponsored by the newly formed Randolph Interfaith Council.
Its three members are Saint Matthew and Resurrection Parish, both affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, and the Mount Freedom Jewish Center.
They began meeting several months ago after the synagogue’s Rabbi Menashe East reached out to Father Dan Murphy of Saint Matthew, who, like East, had recently began his tenure in the area.
“I just wanted to meet as colleagues and see how we could start a conversation, work together, and be more neighborly,” said East. Murphy suggested reaching out to other houses of worship — there are nearly 20 churches in Randolph; Mount Freedom is the only synagogue — and Resurrection Church responded.
According to Ray Latour, deacon at Resurrection, an active interfaith clergy council existed in Randolph beginning more than 20 years ago, but dissolved eight or 10 years later as various clergy moved from the area. That council organized CROP walks to fight hunger, held an annual Thanksgiving pancake breakfast and prayer service, and organized visits to area houses of worship.
“It was an attempt to learn more and build bridges of understanding, and collaborate on projects for the betterment of the community and the world,” said Latour.
He said East’s proposal to recreate the council and reinstate its goals was a no-brainer for him. “There’s a lot of good to be done and can be done with greater effectiveness and greater success if we come together,” he said. They held their first meeting just over two months ago.
Although the new council will “evolve naturally,” said East, they already have had some “productive” conversations about tangible projects. They include creating a support group for interfaith families in the area and running an interfaith Passover seder.
The larger goal, said East, is that “we need to know each other, be friends, and respect each other.”