Faith leaders embrace diversity in light of Charlottesville events


A joint service organized by Congregation Tifereth Israel and the First Baptist Church of Glen Cove was held on Sunday, August 20, in response to the events in Charlottesville to make a statement of unity and diversity. Over 200 members of the community came out to the service, which included many of the faith organizations in Glen Cove: Calvary A.M.E. Church, North Country Reform Temple, Iglesia Ciudad de Refugio, and The First Presbyterian Church of Glen Cove.

Rabbi Irwin Huberman, of Congregation Tifereth Israel, said he noticed community members who were feeling saddened and isolated by the events in Charlottesville. Having worked with Pastor Roger Williams and The First Baptist Church of Glen Cove many times before, the two leaders decided to do something uplifting and unifying for the residents. The event quickly grew to include many of the faith groups in the community.

“We felt that it was important to highlight the fact that diversity is important not only in our community but across the nation,” said Huberman. “It is the Jewish belief that we all come from the same source, no one’s heritage is no more noble than the other, all of our cultures are stronger when we emphasize our diversity and learn from each other.”

Williams, expressed a similar sentiment. “We felt it our duty, in our city, to our faith communities to protest that sentiment, that hate sentiment, that hate language with a coming together of love and unity across the religious spectrum,” he said. “It’s always the role of the faith community to call people to be their best and reveal the best of who we are as human beings.”

Reverend Craig Wright of Calvary A.M.E. Church, quoted the biblical story “Feeding the Multitude,” where Jesus multiplied fish and bread to feed 5,000 people. Wright made the connection that there is enough to go around; there is room for everyone’s beliefs. “There’s no need for anyone to hate on anyone because of their race, religion, faith, sexual orientation, non-faith,” he explained. “It’s imperative that we let the world know that this will not be tolerated in our community.”

The faith leaders agreed that they plan to have more of an interfaith presence in the city.