BETH EL NEWS: Two institutions join to deal with racial injustice

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Rabbi Kornsgold. left

Mike Morsch, Regional Editor
By Steve Guggenheim, Members of Beth El Synagogue in East Windsor and Hightstown’s Mount Olivet Church held a joint meeting Sunday in a program called, Kick Off to a Bond of Friendship, a Faith Community Partnership., The coming together of the two institutions came out of a realization of the need to work together to deal with problems of racial injustice. Beth El Rabbi Jay Kornsgold says it started from one of his Rosh Hashanah sermons marking the Jewish new year. In the address he pointed out the problems in the U.S. and talked about various incidents that have taken place in the country. He concluded by saying it would be good if the two communities got to know each other better., Kornsgold spoke to Mount Olivet minister Rev. Bernard Fowler about the idea. From that discussion a committee was formed resulting in the gathering at Beth El of the two congregations., Rabbi Kornsgold says his hope is to have other religious institutions join in. He says the more people that can be included, and the more institutions that join in, the better people get to know each other. That will help residents do their part in the community to understand the problems of racial injustice experienced here in the local area and that is happening throughout the nation., Rev. Fowler says this is a great opportunity for the community, adding that unfortunately these types of committees are needed now. Rev. Fowler, the current president of the Windsor Hightstown Area Ministerium, says unfortunately he means the value of all people is being challenged. He says people of faith must ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, that their interests are recognized and that all of us enjoy the great freedoms we have in this country., The audience then watched an interview with Jonathan Heidt, an NYU professor who specializes in the psychology of morality. He says the problem is not necessarily about race but of culture, that when we emphasize cultural similarities there are fewer problems. Heidt says this is more aggravated because of the way we grew up. The World War II generation came of age working together for the war effort, but that baby boomers came of age in the 60s when we were fighting each other., Those in attendance then gathered in small groups to discuss the issues, one being that people don’t just disagree now, but differences are presented with an apocalyptic feeling of disaster. Nowadays we feel people who have different thoughts are a threat., Rev. Fowler says his hope is to develop peace, quality and a commitment that is sustainable to our community, to work and resolve problems that most people in the community never hear about., Rabbi Kornsgold’s hope is to bring the community together so we can know each other and break down barriers. He says the aim is to make our community a better place.,