Rabbis join solidarity ring around local mosque

Rabbi Daniel Goldblatt of Beth Chaim Congregation in Danville and Rabbi Judy Shanks of Temple Isaiah in Lafayette were among the 200 people who participated in a show of support for their Muslim neighbors last week by circling an East Bay mosque with a “Ring of Solidarity.”

The interfaith event took place March 27 at the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center.

People join hands to create a ring around the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center on March 27 photo/courtesy san ramon valley islamic center

Organizers said they were inspired by the Norwegian Muslims who circled an Oslo synagogue in February to show support for the Jewish community. The organizers were the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, the Interfaith Council of San Ramon Valley and Neighbor to Neighbor, which together represent some 150 local congregations and faith organizations.

Goldblatt, a co-founder of the Interfaith Council of San Ramon Valley, was one of several speakers to address the crowd, which included Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, Baha’i, Christians and Jews. He began by blowing a shofar, then recounted the many times the local Jewish and Islamic communities have worked together over the years, including celebrating religious holidays together.

“We stand here today on the Muslim holy day [Friday], to declare that we will not be divided by injustice,” Goldblatt told attendees. “We will continue to stand together, pray together, and listen and learn from each other.”

Goldblatt then led people in a song, written by Bay Area Cantor Linda Hirschhorn, that includes the lyrics, “Circle round for freedom, circle round for peace.” Shanks also spoke.

The event was organized in response to rising Islamophobia locally and nationally, Goldblatt said. — j. staff