Houses of Worship and Interfaith Support
Many Jewish communities throughout NYC used MLK Day to discuss Judaism’s relationship with social justice and the African-American community. Here you can find a list of community events around MLK Day, compiled by New York Jewish Week.
The picture of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. marching with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel reminds us of the importance of interfaith support in the struggle towards justice. In previous updates we cover the Department of Homeland Security’s work in forming interfaith councils to address the security of houses of worship around the nation. This week we see another powerful example of interfaith support. East End Temple has opened their doors to Middle Collegiate Church after their sanctuary was destroyed in 2020. The two congregations have been sharing space inside of the temple, and the synagogue is also supporting the church’s efforts in getting approved for a renovation.
Houses of Worship and Security
Last week Gov. Hochul announced her three goals for New York: to make New York safer, more affordable, and to create more jobs and opportunities. On the topic of safety, houses of worship continue to be utilized as shelters for migrants as well as spaces of worship. The New York Times report African and Invisible: The Other New York Migrant Crisis takes an in-depth look at how African migrants have been treated and ignored in New York, as well as the work of Imam Omar, who has housed hundreds of men within his mosque. Last Friday Mayor Adams expressed that the city is at a “breaking point,” as the city took in more than 3,100 asylum-seekers in the week of Jan. 2nd. The need for shelter will increase, placing pressure on city shelters and the many houses of worship that have been taking people in.
Meanwhile, there has been a surge in islamophobia and attacks on mosques across North America – from anti-muslim harassment in New Jersey to assaults in a Toronto mosque. President Biden recently acknowledged the hate crimes that religious groups face in his Proclamation of Religious Freedom Day. In his proclamation he states that the 2023 Budget proposal asks for a large increase in funding “for the physical security of nonprofits — including churches, gurdwaras, mosques, synagogues, temples, and other houses of worship.”
The intersection of Martin Luther King Day and Religious Freedom Day gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of all places of worship and encourages us to hold our government and leaders accountable for helping to keep these places safe. It is with that acknowledgement that Bricks and Mortals works to support faith-based organizations and their congregations.