On January 16, 2015, The Village Temple honored the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. by remembering our shared commitment to peace and justice for all. It was an evening of legacy. Anita Hollander was joined in song by the children’s choir she guides so beautifully, as well as her daughter Holland Hamilton, whose marvelous voice often graces our services. Anita also invited a special guest performer—the magical Rebecca Naomi Jones, a rising star in the New York theater, whose mother Susan Rosenberg Jones is a former VT co-president and an accomplished photographer. The presence of these exquisite young performers was just another remember of the many gifts and talents our congregants bring to our community.
It was an evening to look inward and outward. The Village Temple continues to blossom. It’s been gratifying to watch the growth in attendance at services, thanks to the spiritual depth of our clergy and musicians, as well as the diversity and vibrancy of our programming. Our office staff is doing an excellent job of keeping the machinery running. We have committed volunteers, including our engaged and hardworking board of directors.
Still, our sweet and lovely MLK commemoration couldn’t entirely block out the barrage of hatred out in the larger world. Even as we enjoyed and appreciated the spirit within, we couldn’t ignore the murderous assaults in Paris. Less publicized here but no less vicious than the Parisian attacks, was an Al Queda car bombing in Yemen that killed 37 people. The victims included Jews, Christians, agnostics and Muslims.
Our service was dedicated to respect for individuals and groups, at a moment when Muslim extremists have dominated the news. Yet, as Times columnist Nicholas Kristof pointed out in a thoughtful column nyti.ms/155NaGC we can’t fall prey to what he calls “religious profiling.” As a congregation, we are continually working to make The Village Temple live up to our aim of kesher, or connection, and to always seek the light of knowledge and tikkun olam.
As Dr. King said so eloquently: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”