Following the devastating events in Israel and Gaza Love Southend sent messages to 4 Rabbis and 3 Imams in Southend, assuring them of our prayers for those caught up in the violence, for those working for justice, peace and protection of the innocent, and protection for their own communities here in Southend from hateful responses to the situation.
Among the responses to our messages was an invitation to meet with the Rabbi and some of the members of the Chabad synagogue, part of a movement within Judaism which aims to create a welcome through hospitality. Ruth (Verrinder) and Mark (Churchward) were invited to the Rabbi’s home and warmly received. Sincere appreciation was expressed for reaching out to the Jewish community at this time and the offer of our prayers. Ruth and Mark were able to explain the work and purpose of Love Southend, Southend’s Faith and Belief Network and our commitment to work and pray for the well-being of all the citizens of Southend. And in turn they were introduced to the nature and purpose of Chabad Houses of which there are now 4 in Essex.
This was an unexpected opportunity to sit with a community here in Southend who are deeply impacted by the events in Israel and Gaza, and express our commitment to pray for them and all communities in Southend equally impacted by those events.
As we said in our message to all the Rabbis:
‘He will judge disputes between nations; he will settle cases for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not take up the sword against other nations, and they will no longer train for war.’ Isaiah 2:4
May we all live in a way that hastens the day when weapons of warfare are transformed into implements of life-giving creativity and peace.