It was all done — to borrow from that classic U2 song about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — in the name of love.
More than 200 Jews, Christians and Muslims came together at Temple Adas Shalom in Havre de Grace yesterday afternoon, Jan. 15, for a multi-cultural celebration of King’s life and legacy.
The two-hour event, titled “Love Your Neighbor: Learn to Live Together Inspired by the Legacy of MLK,” was hosted by the temple, the St. James AME Church in Havre de Grace, and Masjid Al Falaah, an Islamic center and community in Abingdon, Md.
The interfaith event, which has been held at the temple for the past four years, featured dialogue, prayer, food, musical selections, readings, and calls for interaction, community service and social action.
The gathering,was conceived by Temple Adas Shalom’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Gila Colman Ruskin. This year’s event was co-organized by Rabbi Ruskin, Pastor Baron D. Young and Sheikh Omar Baloch. All of the spiritual leaders spoke at the event.
“We didn’t expect 200 people to come,” said Rabbi Ruskin. “It was the most amazing thing. People just wanted to come together in fellowship. It was just phenomenal, awesome, beyond our expectations.”
This year marked the first year that a Muslim group has participated in the annual event.
At last year’s interfaith MLK Day gathering, Temple Adas Shalom and St. James AME celebrated the completion of their “River of Justice” mosaic, bearing the lyrics of the worship song: “Let justice roll like a river, like a river let it roll.”
Samuel Vogelhut, an Edgewood High School student and Temple Adas Shalom congregant, planned the event’s convocation with peers from St. James AME and Masjid Al Falaah. The youths, from three different schools, also participated in a round-table discussion, and later presented their conclusions to the larger group.
“Only when we unite and respect each other’s differences can we truly progress and create a better society for future generations,” said Vogelhut.
Several speakers at the gathering expressed their strong desire to work together jointly for the benefit of their communities and the world at large. Dr. Rehan A. Khan, president of Masjid Al-Falaah, said that Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad were all prophets of God. Their followers, he said, are cousins who may disagree on occasion but are still part of the same family of humanity and need to coexist.
At the conclusion of the event and for an hour afterwards, attendees worked on and issued a joint declaration to work toward the goal of unity, as advocated by Dr. King.
Photos provided by Temple Adas Shalom
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