WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Nearly 400 people from Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities throughout Bergen County sang, prayed and held moments of silence together at an interfaith service at Temple Beth Or in Washington Township on Sunday evening.
Some participants wore a gold cross around their neck, others a turban and several a yarmulka. All united in solidarity to spread awareness that Islam, Judaism and Christianity are all religions of peace.
"A gathering like this may not end religious hatred, but I know that it brought us closer," Fabricant told Daily Voice. "People were uplifted and comforted. My community needed to say 'we welcome you, we stand with you.'"
The 7 p.m. gathering on the last night of Hanukkah organized by Fabricant last week (SEE: Washington Township Rabbi Unites Religious Communities In Solidarity ).
Guests reminded the audience through hymns and speeches that living in pervasive fear can be overcome by focusing on kinship and unity.
"It was a small step in the right direction," said Imam Moutaz Charaf, of the Elzahra Islamic Center in Midland Park.
"It's becoming a challenging time for all leaders and American people [living in] fear and hearing unfortunate things from politicians," he said. "People also need to hear the voice of reason, love, peace to stand against discrimination and hatred."
"What a wonderful way to end Hanukkah with respect, love and hope," Pam Schuller of Union for Reform Judaism, who was accompanied by 15 teenagers from the North American Federation of Temple Youth program.
The crowd sang along to "Let There Be Peace On Earth" after Fabricant delivered the closing thoughts.
"It’s very nice to see people of different faiths… get to know each other, read scriptures together and listen to each other," Charaf told Daily Voice. "After all, we all worship the same god."