Oct 16, 2018

A Rabbi Goes to Church

A Rabbi Goes to Church
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

In between teaching one class and another, I stopped into a beautiful NYC church. The language outside, "all guests who present themselves are to be welcomed" had struck since the first time I'd seen them, months ago. I stood, wondering if the building was open to the public when a man wearing traditional Sikh clothing emerged and held the door open for me. I entered. The person at the desk welcomed me in, shared a brochure with me of the history of the church, and waved me in. I share this in admiration of the mission of this church, which hosts a homeless shelter every night of the year.

I type these words, sitting at the back of the glorious chapel, as a few people come in and out, as another person nearby is snoring, undisturbed, in the sacred air. And, as I sit here, no one has worried who I am, nor asked me for anything.

I am not unaware of the differences between Jewish and Christian histories, and understand the very real need in our modern world for security. But I am struck nonetheless by the following question: What would the Jewish world look like today if synagogues shared the mission "all guests who present themselves are to be welcomed?"