Yesterday night I had the pleasure to host my first shabbat supper at home. As non-religious as I am, I like to think I’m traditional and for me, shabbat is a huge part of my upbringing and of my life in general. Of course, I was super excited to receive my uncle as my first shabbat guest in a way to thank him for the way he welcomed me into his home for the last year.
As we were having a wonderful time, he mentioned that there was going to be a memorial for the Pittsburgh shooting on Saturday morning at the Solel Congregation of Mississauga – the synagogue that he goes to – so basically this morning. He invited me to go and I’ve thought about it and made a last minute decision to join them 20 minutes before the memorial would start.
As I got to the synagogue, I saw a line of Christians, Jews and Muslims forming in front of the religious temple and I wasn’t sure if some of them were protesting or whatnot but when I got inside the synagogue, I asked what were they doing exactly outside – a ring of peace.
A ring of peace is when people from diverse communities or religions come together to create a safe space while another group prays. So, these people that I saw outside were not here to protest, they were actually here to help the members of the congregation pray in peace.
While this was happening around the synagogue, the shabbat service was going on inside (I would also like to mention that this was at a reformed synagogue where men and women both sit together unlike other more traditional synagogue that has some separation) and as the rabbi opened up the Torah, the Christians and Muslims people from outside (men, women and children) came in the synagogue to stand with us as we were praying.
I never thought I would ever see that – three of the main religions that are always seen as enemies through the media came together this morning to share the same message: “we are all in this together, and even if we don’t share the same faith, we share the same idea that we want a peaceful world” and that, my friends, was a beautiful thing to witness.
Now, it’s very unlikely that you will see this in the media but just know that peace within the religions is a very possible thing. It’s hard to imagine with every horrible thing we see in the world happening but if we start in our communities to help each other nurturing whatever faith we hold dear (whether you believe in God or not) this can make a stronger world. If we just start with cities carrying peace within their communities, I have a feeling that world peace is possible.
I might or might not believe in religion but I strongly believe in humanity and humans coming together and today – I witnessed it.