County Executive’s Corner: “The Spirit of the Season”

By County Executive Ed Day

This week we have a very symbolic confluence of holidays as Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanza all fall within days of each other. This is an important reminder that though we may worship in different ways, this time of year we all look to spread joy and celebrate with our families, friends and neighbors.

Our great Nation was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and many others have become part of this great Country since then. Despite any differences we may have in dogma, scripture or tradition we have all devoted our lives to the same American experiment; that we welcome people from around the world to create the best society ever, a melting pot of ideas, perspectives and faiths.

Each year in front of the Allison-Parris County Office Building in New City we have a Blessing of the Nativity Creche and a Lighting of the Menorah. We saw members of all different faiths, Christians and Jews come together to share the joy we all feel this time of year. Joy that seems the same regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. What better way to make a profound statement to make this world a better place?

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.

I am of the firm belief that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason; that we should spend more time listening to others and learning from them than we should spend speaking ourselves. It is more important than ever that we gather together, regardless of religion, to celebrate this holiday season.

These two events are organized by the Rockland County Catholic Coalition and Chabad of Rockland. The Creche Blessing was held on Dec. 16 and the Menorah Lighting will take place Dec. 23. I invited all residents, regardless of religion, to attend the Blessing and ask the same for the upcoming Lighting.

This is a chance for a show of unity as this year draws to a close and an opportunity to bring everyone closer together. It can serve as a reaffirmation during a time of joy that we share so much and have many more things in common than we may think.

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 different from you.