On Feb 16, 2017, the Sisterhood of Salaam-Shalom sponsored a vigil at the Rodef Shalom Synagogue in Falls Church VA, as part of a larger effort by Sisterhood chapters across the USA. The goal of the event was to provide a venue where members and their guests could gather together to affirm each other and to remind each of us that we are not alone.
A host of Jewish and Muslim speakers came to the event to give each other the strength and courage needed to gain control of the chaotic and dangerous world created by the political rhetoric of the Presidential campaign and intensified by the political posturing of the recent weeks.
AIA Director Robert Marro spoke about his experience living in Paris and seeing the many commemorative plaques and memorials to the deported Jews in France during WWII, and his own personal experience with Holocaust survivors he had met growing up in New Jersey. He related his fear that the current attacks on immigrants and minorities were all too reminiscent of the rhetoric and atmosphere that prevailed in places like Germany or France in the 1930s and 1940s.
However, he also emphasized that unlike that situation, America has a long tradition of opposition to any such demagoguery, and events like this vigil and groups like this Sisterhood offer a powerful contrast to the
indifference and even general hostility that pervaded those European countries. But, as Marro cautioned, it is vital we do not give up our vigilance, and that we use all opportunities like this Vigil, and all platforms like AIA 2020, to demand that America live up to its own principles and traditions of welcoming immigrants, and protecting the religious freedom of all Americans.
The event featured readings from the Bible and the Quran, as well as reflections of from various well-known commentators on religion and religious freedom. The speakers and the audience of nearly 100 reflected on our traditions and teachings that create a welcoming space for all. The Sisterhood Unity Vigil helped to re-affirm the harmony that we experience when we celebrate the dignity and diversity we see in one another, and
provided a dynamic call for prayer and readings to offer courage and hope to one all attending.
For more information on the Sisterhood, please contact us at email@example.com, or one of the following co-leaders:
Leina Wahba firstname.lastname@example.org
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Susan Kohn email@example.com
Robert J. Marro