In the aftermath of the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history, NILA stands in solidarity with our local Jewish community, united against hatred and bigotry in all of its forms.
Statement from The Reverend Lynn Pries, President of NILA, delivered at the Interfaith Solidarity Program held at Congregation Beth Shalom on November 4, 2018:
"One of the purposes of NILA is to stand strong in the face of acts such as this, acts of prejudice, acts of antisemitism, acts of Islamophobia. As president of NILA, I condemn the killer, I condemn the acts of antisemitism, and those who created hateful lies that encouraged the murderer. As the president of NILA, I stand with the Jewish community to offer the full support of our association." - Lynn Pries
Images by Carrie Lapidus Photography;
Lynn Pries, president of NILA, provided the following statement during the solidarity event;
I am honored to speak to you tonight as we have a mixture of feelings. All of us have a mixture of feelings of mourning, anger, and fear. I speak to address these feeling in three ways,
First, I speak as a United Methodist clergy person whose Bishop sent a letter to all the United Methodist pastors and church members in Northern Illinois condemning the murder and calling her flock to prayer for the families of the victims, for the Jewish community. My bishop called us to participate in events such as this and to speak out against prejudice and antisemitism.
I speak as the President of the Naperville Interfaith Leaders Association. We call our Association by its acronym, NILA. We meet monthly to learn about common concerns and our religious traditions. Over the years, I have developed a deep relationship with religious leaders such as Rabbi Marc Rudolph and Bernie Newman, two of the leaders from Congregation Beth Shalom. One of our purposes of the NILA to stand together when prejudice, antisemitism, homophobia, influences someone to attack. As the President of NILA, I condemn the killer who murdered 11 Jews in their holy place of worship. I condemn the antisemitism and those who create hateful lies that encouraged the murderer. As the President of NILA I stand with the Jewish community to offer my support.
I speak also for myself. I feel anger and loss. I speak as one who is personally connected to the tragic murder of the eleven Jews who gathered for worship in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. One of my friends, a United Methodist clergy colleague retired and moved to Pittsburgh. His physician who made an early diagnosis of cancer that allowed my friend to be treated and become cancer free. My friend said this excellent physician saved his life. His physician was Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, one of the victims.
Our nation is a beacon of liberty, freedom, economic opportunity, and justice for the world. Our beloved nation is blessed in so many ways, but when hate crimes are increasing and when crimes of antisemitism and Islamophobia are increasing, we need to take notice and channel our anger into ways to make this nation better. We must find positive ways to speak against hateful words. We need to create more communities of care and compassion.
We have much more to do. I pray that we find ways to work together.
The following are links to various media coverage of the event;
NILA thanks the community leaders who addressed their solidarity with our Jewish neighbors at the Interfaith Solidarity Program:
--Mayor Steve Chirico, City of Naperville
--Chief Robert Marshall of the Naperville Police Department
--The Reverend Lynn Pries, President of the Naperville Interfaith Leaders Association
--Ms. Saily Joshi, the Chair of the Parent Diversity Council of School District 204 and a member of the Hindu Community
--The Reverend Tom Capo of the Du Page Unitarian Universalist Church of Naperville
--Shaykh Rizwan Ali, Religious Director, Islamic Center of Naperville
--The Reverend Clint Roberts of the Knox Presbyterian Church of Naperville
--Priest Mohinder Singh, Head Priest of the Illinois Sikh Community Center in Wheaton
--Mr. Gautam Grover, a member of the Sikh community
--Mr. Tom Cordaro, Justice and Outreach Minister of the St. Margaret Mary Church of Naperville
--Mr. Bruce Duffield of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of Naperville
--Ms. Tina Jagshi, the Naperville Interfaith Relationship Manager of the Ismaili Jamatkhana
--The Reverend Mark Winters of the First Congregational United Church of Christ of Naperville
NILA also thanks the members of Congregation Beth Shalom who organized the Interfaith Solidarity Program: Rabbi Marc Rudolph, Cantor Hasha Musha Perman, President Gregg Yedwab, Past President Bernie Newman, Karen Zatz, Mimi Qunell, Cynthia Summers, Austin Scott, Erica Scott, and Yonah Klem.