We recite and sing the words in each of our services… more than once.
It’s the last line of the Kaddish prayer that separates the sections of our service and ends the liturgy as we remember those who have died.
Oseh Shalom bimromav, hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu…
May the One who makes peace in the heavens above bring peace upon us, upon Israel, and many of us add to the passage, “and upon all the world.”
The rabbis who wrote this prayer looked heavenward and saw the many celestial bodies hurling through space, seeming to co-exist harmoniously and prayed that inspiration could serve as a model for the people on earth.
(Yes, I know that those stars and planets do occasionally collide, but the relative intergalactic calm is still awfully impressive.)
Here in Fresno, we have a multitude of cultures and ethnicities. Our harmony may not equal that of the stars in heaven, but we have many beautiful moments of people coming together, cooperating and working for the betterment of our surroundings.
This past Sunday, our Interfaith Thanksgiving Service brought together participants from a wide variety of backgrounds. We were hosted by the Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple Dharma Center and enjoyed offerings from the Buddhist Center, the Native American Community, the United Christian Church, the Sikh Community, the LDS Church, the Muslim Community, the Unitarian Universalist Church, the Baha’i Community, the Mennonite Brethren and our own Temple Beth Israel choir.
In addition, Friday, I gathered together with our mayor and several of the non-Christian religious leadership as we do quarterly to keep in contact and explore our common goals. It’s very easy for us to focus on the common work we share and our interest in improving our community and surroundings. We shared our hope for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in the Middle East and looked forward to continued work in making our world a better place. We continue to learn from each other and build bridges of understanding and cooperation.
(Left to right: Imam Seyed Ali Ghazvini, Negin Tahvildary, myself, Mayor Ashley Swearengin, Dr. Sudarshan Kapoor and Kamal Abu-Shamsieh.)
Our little group may not be as numerous as the stars in the sky, but I find it a wonderful model and a little step in fulfilling the prayer, Oseh Shalom Bimromav… May the One who makes peace in the heavens above bring peace to all the world
...and we say ‘Amen.’