On November 19, 2020, for the third year, Congregation Shearith Israel joined with local churches and mosques for an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. As in past years, the event served as a special opportunity for people of different faiths to come together in the spirit of gratitude. This year’s theme—Embracing Gratitude in Adversity—was fitting, as the 12 participating faith communities and organizations gathered virtually because of the pandemic.
The event highlighted the important mission and impact of the Dallas Street Choir. Rabbi Ari Sunshine, who founded this event in 2018, led the Shearith Israel contingent, which included his welcome message (minute 1:30), Cary Rudberg blowing the shofar (minute 2:50), Charlie Waldman sharing his Bar Mitzvah speech on gratitude (minute 7), and Hazzan Itzhak Zhrebker singing On Holy Ground with the One Voice Gospel Choir (minute 31). You can watch a recording of the service on the Shearith Israel YouTube channel at https://is.gd/3ITgiving
Along with Congregation Shearith Israel, other participating faith communities and organizations included: Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, University Park United Methodist Church, Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square, First United Methodist Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, The Thanks-Giving Foundation, Islamic Association of North Texas, Ismaili Muslim Youth Choir, Millennial Choir & Orchestra, OneVoice Gospel Choir and Muslim American Society of DFW.
Reflecting on this year’s unusual service, Rabbi Sunshine commented, “We were nervous about how this would translate to an online-only format, but thanks to the diligent efforts of our event committee chair, Rev. Kathy Lee-Cornell from Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, and the rest of our planning team, we were thrilled with how it all came together in the end as an inspirational, uplifting, and communal experience. We were even able to include online networking opportunities after the conclusion of the service, as if we were once again standing together at a dessert reception meeting people from other faith communities.” Hazzan Zhrebker added, “This service allowed us to express our shared gratitude in a unified way, singing words of thanks.”
Next year’s service will take place on Thursday, November 18, 2021, and will be hosted by First United Methodist Church.
Shearith Israel clergy, staff and congregants share