In light of the ongoing current events, on Sunday, June 7, Congregation AABJ&D in West Orange presented “An Armchair Conversation: Healing Together, Moving Forward in a Broken World.” AABJ&D’s Rabbi Eliezer Zwickler was joined by Pastor Doug Adams (Joy Church of God) and West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi. Together, Rabbi Zwickler and Pastor Adams continued a dialogue they began almost 20 years ago, following the events of September 11, 2001. Over the course of an hour conversation the three local community leaders had a powerful conversation about both the shared and diverse histories of their respective communities, and discussed the murder of George Floyd and both local and nationwide protests. They also talked about how their communities can work together, today and in the future.
“I think it was a very meaningful night of unity for our community,” said Rabbi Zwickler. “As our community continues to grow and flourish, it is critical that we engage and connect with all of our neighbors, particularly at this difficult time. I have known Pastor Adams for many years, and when I called him last week, I asked him to join us, together with his community, in dialogue, so that they feel that we empathize with the challenges facing them as well as our desire to build a strong supportive connection. Pastor Adams was his incredibly genuine, engaging and appreciative self as he expressed thanks for our shul’s reaching out and taking the time to empathize with the struggles of his community. We were honored to have Mayor Parisi join us as well, addressing the township’s engagement during these difficult times. I mentioned that we are so fortunate to live in the greatest country that has existed in history, but that there are imperfections that exist and we all hope that those are addressed.”
The replay of the event can be found at https://youtu.be/LGUzTvg0aVU.
By Esti Buskin