Earlier this week I joined dozens of residents, elected officials of both parties and members of the Rockland County Catholic Coalition and Chabad Of Rockland at the Allison-Parris County Office Building in New City in a show of unity as we began the holiday season.
It is more important than ever that we gather together, regardless of religion, to celebrate this holiday season. There is plenty of room in Rockland to accommodate every religion, culture and ethnicity; all of us are enriched by exposure to cultures and beliefs other than our own. God made each of us unique for a reason; we must learn from each other; listen to each other and reject intolerance in all its forms.
This year I went out of my way to invite members of all religions to attend both annual events as a way to bring us all closer together. The Blessing of the Nativity Creche was held first, followed by the singing of Christmas carols. This portion of the event was organized by the Rockland County Catholic Coalition.
The Lighting of the Menorah then took place after a prayed and was followed by Chanukah refreshments and music. Rabbi Simcha Morgenstern, Director of Outreach and Education for Chabad Lubavitch of Rockland, organized that portion of the event.
I was so pleased to see members of the Jewish faith singing along to Christmas carols and members of the Christian faith counting down to the lighting of the Menorah on the second night of Chanukah.
This was an amazing evening as two religions shared each other’s joy of the season. Our Nation was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and many others have become part of this great Country since then. What better way to foster understanding of each other than by all sharing the joy we feel at this time of year knowing that joy is the same regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. My gratitude to all who were a part of both events as it showed all what Rockland is truly all about.
As the Holiday Season continues, I ask that we all remember that much more joins us than divides, when you see your neighbors wish them the best during this season of light and hope. We in Rockland County must always stand together as a community to reject intolerance and hatred. Please use this opportunity to learn more about those who may appear difference from you. I urge everyone to visit the creche and the 15-foot menorah which are on display outside the front of the Allison-Parris County Office Building at 11 New Hempstead Road in New City.