“A Day of Resolve” – Countering Hate with Faith

Photo: Rebecca White for The New York Daily News

February 27, 2023

“We will not be intimidated or cowed by those in this country who seek to do us and other minority communities harm.” – Rabbi Joshua Davidson

Together in resolve, Temple Emanu-El held its 10:30 AM Shabbat Morning Service on February 25 outside on the Fifth Avenue steps in response to a planned “Day of Hate” by neo-Nazi groups. Clergy members Rabbi Joshua Davidson, Cantor Mo Glazman and Emma Dubin were joined by the Reverend Dr. Galen Guengerich, Senior Minister of All Souls Congregation; Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis; the Reverend Dr. Scott Black Johnston, Senior Pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, and the Reverend Matthew Heyd, Rector of the Church of the Heavenly Rest and the next Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York in solidarity against bigotry.

“There is power and beauty, even, in the way that good people respond to evil intentions and evil actions. To not respond, to stay silent in the face of evil, no matter how terrible, or no matter how silly it might seem, is to fail in one of life’s most important tests,” Reverend Scott Black Johnston of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church said during the service.

Due to recent antisemitic threats and acts, as well as the rising number of hate crimes targeting Jewish and marginalized communities, Temple Emanu-El’s security has been working with the NYPD to ensure the safety of all community members. The ongoing severity of this situation has extended to both local and national incidents, such as the Broadway show Parade recently being targeted and protested by hate groups. Regarding antisemitism and allyship, “It is possible to hold space for all of those conversations,” actor Ben Platt said during the Parade cast and crew’s discussion at the Streicker Center on February 7.

As part of the local and global Jewish communities, Emanu-El offered a message of faith in the wake of heightened fear to counter any hatred. During the abbreviated worship service, Cantor Mo Glazman and the Temple Emanu-El choir led the congregation in raising their voices with “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful” in the hope that this country might be “a land for all its people,” as Rabbi Davidson stated, “That its cities will be un-dimmed by tears and all of us will be able to live together in peace and harmony.”

Click the links below to view the full February 25 Shabbat service and read press coverage of the service. The service also received broadcast coverage on 1010 WINS Radio and NBC New York.