The Jewish Observer,
27 Cheshvan-3 Kislev, 5779 Nov. 5-11, 2018 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES -- 614th Web Ed.
WOODLAND HILLS -- Hundreds of Los Angelenos recently gathered at Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills for the San Fernando Valley’s second annual Interfaith Solidarity March aimed at fostering interfaith solidarity, and to honor the memory of those killed Saturday at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The mile-long march began at Temple Aliyah at Valley Circle Blvd., proceeded to Woodland Hills Presbyterian Church, and ended on Platt Avenue in Woodland Hills.
Saturday’s tragic event prompted March organizers to call on faith-based leaders across the country to step up efforts toward building bridges of tolerance, peace and unity, and to hold a silent vigil from the church to the mosque in memory of the lives lost at the Tree of Life synagogue.
“Now more than ever, regardless of religion, race or creed, we need to come together, share our stories and work towards a better future for our city and country,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. “In wake of a resurgence of hate crimes and vile rhetoric against religions, march organizer Marsha Novak, the Interfaith Solidarity Network, and other local West Valley leaders created an annual opportunity to bring people together and march in solidarity against hate and bigotry while encouraging civic participation. Especially with yesterday’s domestic terror attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, we must continue to stand up and fight against racism, bigotry and intolerance,” he added.
Organized by the Interfaith Solidarity Network (ISN), a group comprised of L.A.-area faith-based leaders seeking to break down barriers, inspire solidarity and interfaith dialogue, the annual march was planned a year ago with the idea of fostering understanding, collaboration and unity through shared values.
“This march is unfortunately a time for us to be together and to stand together in solidarity – and to speak out against hatred,’ said Marsha Novak, co-founder of the Interfaith Solidarity Network. “The presumed success of the day is both a positive and negative. That we need to do this is sad, but that we did do it and that people came together to stand and comfort one another is good. It’s important to show up!”
The march was hosted in conjunction with local congregations from many faith traditions. The L.A. City Clerk and League of Women Voters were on-site for voter registration at the start and end of the event, while the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry collected non-perishable food items for those in need. Organizers estimate that it drew more than 2,000 participants from throughout the San Fernando Valley and the City of Los Angeles.
“I believe we can transform the current climate of divisiveness and incivility plaguing our nation and indeed the entire world through encounter with others of different faiths and cultural traditions,” said Father Alexei Smith, Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. “The Interfaith Solidarity Network and the march provide us all with a wonderful opportunity to do precisely that,” added Smith.
The Interfaith Solidarity Network (ISN) is comprised of faith-based leaders from throughout the Los Angeles area who aim to foster understanding, collaboration and unity through shared values. ISN breaks down barriers and inspires solidarity among communities in the San Fernando Valley by building relationships across cultures and faiths, educating communities, organizing for peace and justice, mobilizing against intolerance, and embracing the principles of non-violence
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