On Sunday, November 12, 2023, members of the Morris County Human Relations Commission (MCHRC) along with a community of synagogues, churches and other organizations, gathered at Adath Shalom Synagogue in Morris Plains for a community event featuring the screening of “Repairing the World—Stories from the Tree of Life” a riveting documentary on how the City of Pittsburgh united to be “Stronger than Hate.” The film documents how the city came together after the October 27, 2018, massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue that took the lives of eleven people.
The attendees were welcomed by Rabbi Moshe Rudin of Adath Shalom and Vice Chair of the MCHRC, followed by a video-taped welcome from Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life Synagogue. The event was moderated by Meyer Rosenthal, MCHRC Chair Emeritus, and his daughter, Bonnie Rosenthal, who was the driving force behind the program.
After the documentary screening, Clarence Curry, Jr., MCHRC Chair, gave the following Call to Action:
“I want to thank the organizers and sponsors of this event for sharing this extremely powerful documentary on how a Community, a City responded to a horrifying act of HATE. There were obviously many compelling take-away messages, but for me there were several that can serve as a “Call to Action Road Map” for our Community. The importance of the sharing of this film for us lies in our collective efforts and actions that are “Pro-Active and Preventative,” identifying and implementing activities and measures that address and combat hate and serve to ensure that there is not fertile ground for it in Morris County.
One of the take-aways was “Our Diversity is Our Strength”. But it is only a strength if we are forging Relationships. It is through “Relationships” that we build the bridges to actions that help create and develop Partnerships. The most effective Partnerships are those based on Relationships which fosters trust, resulting in initiatives that are more powerful and embracing.
Through “Relationships and Partnerships, we learn to Listen, not just Hear. We are the Difference, both collectively and individually. My Charge to us Collectively is to Join, Partner, Collaborate. The Charge individually is to “Speak Up, Stand Up, Say Something because Apathy is the Enemy.
In conclusion, please stand and join me in the “Not in Our Town-Stop Hate Together” Pledge which can be found in your Program:
‘I pledge to stand up to all forms of hate, racism, bigotry, and bullying. I will not stay silent in the face of intolerance based on race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, religion, ability or any other factor. I will work together with my neighbors to create safer, more inclusive communities for all.’”
At the end of Clarence’s remarks, representatives of the sponsoring organizations came to the front of the sanctuary and joined with the audience to sing Let There Be Peace On Earth. It was a very moving event and, notably, an inspirational way to begin the first day of “United Against Hate Week,” November 12 – 18, 2023.
#1 Detective Sergeant Patrick LaGuerre, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office; Rabbi Moshe Rudin, Adath Shalom Synagogue
#2 (Back Row) Meyer Rosenthal, MCHRC Chair Emeritus; Bonnie Rosenthal; (Front Row) Sue Rosenthal, MCHRC Secretary. At the sign-in table.
#3 Clarence Curry, Jr., MCHRC Chair; Elaine Johnson, MCHRC Past Chair; William Schievella, MCHRC Law Enforcement Committee Chair.
#4 Clarence Curry, Jr. Call to Action
#5 William Schievella; Jasmine Lim, MCHRC Community & Cultural Relations Committee Chair.
#6 Susan J. Waldman, MCHRC Treasurer; Elaine Johnson and her husband Charles.