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'A Healing Balm' 10 Years After 9/11

Community interfaith gathering on Sunday at Jewish Community Center will bring together Jews, Christians and Muslims.

A community interfaith gathering on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will give people in the Lehigh Valley an opportunity to continue healing and building relationships.

“We’ve come a long way in the last decade in terms of understanding one another,” said the Rev. Christine L. Nelson, executive director of The Lehigh County Conference of Churches. “We believe this gives our community and the world hope.”

“Come together in hope” will be the theme of the interfaith gathering at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Jewish Community Center at 22nd and Tilghman streets in Allentown.

“It’s important to commemorate 10 years of any tragedy,” said Cantor Kevin Wartell of Temple Beth El in South Whitehall. But the interfaith gathering will be “more than a reminiscence of pain experienced,” Wartell said. “Out of the ashes come life and a rededication to it.”

During the past decade, Wartell said, “in the political and social realm, our country definitely is struggling. This will be a healing balm.”

The gathering is sponsored by several organizations, including:  The Lehigh County Conference of Churches and its Interfaith in Action Committee, The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, the Muslim Association of the Lehigh Valley, The Office for Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown, the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley, the Lehigh Dialogue Center, and The Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding of Muhlenberg College.

Nelson said representatives of faith traditions plan to present something during the gathering that speaks to the theme.

The faith organizations participating in the interfaith gathering at the Jewish Community Center are nearly similar to those who participated in a gathering in the Lehigh Valley soon after Sept. 11, Nelson said.

During the last decade, Nelson said, “We’ve been very intentional about dialoguing with one another so that we would understand one another.”

Sometimes, she said, faith traditions are afraid of one another simply because they are differences. However, she said, “We find some of our core values are the same. Every human being is a sacred human being who should be respected.

“The Golden Rule applies across all the major traditions.”

Wartell said communication between synagogues, mosques and churches has improved during the past decade. “We’re closer than ever before.”

Parking for the interfaith gathering will be available behind the Jewish Community Center. Seating is limited to 600.

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