PARSIPPANY — Temple Adath Shalom in Parsippany played host to the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom Unity Vigil 2020. The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom is comprised of Muslim and Jewish women whose goal is to bring people from different cultures together to get to know one another, and to stand against hatred.
Clergy leaders of many faiths, and elected officials such as Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill and Mayor Michael Soriano, were present to support this interfaith Liturgy. Law enforcement leadership had a strong showing, with the presence of Morris County Sheriff James Gannon and Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Chief Andrew Miller.
The evening began with greetings from the event organizer, Rabbi Debra Smith, who presided over the Unity Vigil. Rabbi Smith then introduced the leader of the host congregation, Rabbi Moshe Rudin. Rabbi Rudin expressed his appreciation to the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom for bringing so many faiths together for the common cause of peace and understanding.
Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill stated, “One of the things that I love most about our community here in Morris County, and in New Jersey, is how we celebrate our diversity. We appreciate that welcoming people from all backgrounds to live and work together strengthens our communities in so many ways. It’s disturbing to see division and racism in this country, and I think maybe these recent acts have been even more disturbing because many of us had thought they would not occur here at home. I’ll tell you even in my own town of Montclair, we saw a menorah vandalized over the holidays. We are coming together tonight because we know that it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to stand up against hate in all its forms.”
Mayor Soriano said, “Our leaders must be vocal in the fight against hate. Events like this are a step towards cleansing the world of hate and providing our children with a brighter, inclusive future.”
Chief Andrew Miller stated, “As law enforcement officers, we know all too well there are small but impactful elements of hatred in our society, and we also know that hatred is ignorance, it’s weak. It’s weak up against strong partnerships like we have here tonight.”
Sheriff James Gannon reminded everyone of the great lengths that law enforcement takes to protect our religious communities in Morris County. He reminded everyone of a quote from Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Perhaps the most fitting item of that evening was the performance of “This Land is Your Land” by all gathered therein. The performance was patriotic, moving, and unifying. Overall, the event signified that Parsippany residents stand united against hate and won’t stand for it in our community, state, or country.