Giving Back

“Unity in Our Community” Rally More than 150 in West Orange

9809529977211f25da23_WP_20170904_09_52_58_Pro.jpg
Rev. Alphonso Platt, of the Nia Fellowship Church, far left, joins the large contingent of Congregation Bnai Shalom participants at the rally. Credits: Alan Grossman
9ce2a9abf22480367f79_WP_20170904_09_10_03_Pro.jpg
Rabbi Robert Tobin, of Congregation Bnai Shalom, speaks to the crowd.   Credits: Alan Grossman
0cccc943b0e0ef00437d_WP_20170904_09_16_16_Pro.jpg
Howard Kastner blows the shofar as a wake-up call that we must all stand together for justice. Credits: Alan Grossman
825335950f71bf43ebe9_WP_20170904_09_42_48_Pro.jpg
Carl Brister urges people to attend the Love & Unity Festival at OSPAC this Saturday. Credits: Alan Grossman
9809529977211f25da23_WP_20170904_09_52_58_Pro.jpg

WEST ORANGE, NJ – More than 150 people skipped the beach on Labor Day morning to attend a “Unity in Our Community” rally at West Orange Town Hall.

A broad cross section of the religious community and concerned residents participated in the rally, which focused on a message of hope and unity in response to the tragic and hate-filled events that took place at Charlottesville last month.

According to Mike Taylor, who organized this event along with Simone Shenassa, the rally was a grassroots effort to celebrate the diversity of the community and make a public statement of the residents’ unity against bigotry.

Sign Up for E-News

“We are sending out a message today that says even though we may have different political views, we can live together in peace and mutual respect as neighbors,” said Taylor, who served as the event emcee.

Rabbi Robert Tobin, of Congregation Bnai Shalom in West Orange, told the crowd that as imperfect as the founders of the United States might have been, they built a nation that welcomed all people to its shores.

“Those who stand against equality and dignity for all people are wrong,” said Tobin.

The rabbi urged attendees not to give the haters what they seek when they oppose them. He said the hate groups would like to provoke violence so they can make people look shrill, radical and not peaceful, which is why the rabbi said people of goodwill should always oppose them in non-violent ways.

Howard Kastner, a board member of Bnai Shalom, blew the shofar (a ram’s horn used during the Jewish High Holidays) as a “wake-up call” that action must be taken to preserve justice in our nation.

Looking out at the diverse crowd that included Christians, Muslims and Jews, Rev. Alphonso Platt, of the Nia Fellowship Church in West Orange, said, “I am seeing God at his best today when I look out at the rainbow of people in West Orange.”

“Hurricane Harvey has shown us that we are all in the same boat together,” said Platt. “When we can row the boat together in unity, we can defeat anything our enemy throws our way.”

The reverend pointed out that although this area has not seen the troubling events that have taken place in Charlottesville and Ferguson, MO, it could still happen here if “we fall asleep in the process.”

“There has been a storm of hate and violence in our country caused by fear,” said Platt, who added that the only antidote is for people to show love for each other. “Love is always supportive. Love never fails. We have to have love in our hearts.”

Local recording artist and songwriter, Carl Brister, urged people to attend the next unity event this Saturday night. He is presenting the “Love & Unity Festival” on Sept. 9 at the Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center.

This free concert will include music that appeals to all cultures, including rock, soul, jazz, gospel, reggae, Latin, blues, hip-hop and R&B.

“I want my kids to grow up in a safe, loving environment,” said Brister. “I believe that is what we have here in West Orange, and I want to preserve it.”

Pictured above:

Rev. Alphonso Platt, of the Nia Fellowship Church, far left, joins the large contingent of Congregation Bnai Shalom participants at the rally.

Rabbi Robert Tobin, of Congregation Bnai Shalom, speaks to the crowd.  

Carl Brister urges people to attend the Love & Unity Festival at OSPAC this Saturday.

Howard Kastner blows the shofar as a wake-up call that we must all stand together for justice.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Deegan Dental Implant Special!

June 19, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ - OUR NEW DENTAL IMPLANT SPECIAL OFFER WILL GIVE YOU REASON TO SMILE!

Deegan Dental is happy to announce our New Dental Implant Special Offer that will give you a reason to smile! Our New Special Offer, that expires 11/30/2018, covers a single Complete Tooth Replacement (including the Implant, Stock Abutment and E-max Crown) for only $2,200 per Implant; a Great Value ...

CycleBar Livingston Offers 4 Rides for $39

LIVINGSTON, NJ - CycleBar Livingston -- Premium Indoor Cycling -- is offering four rides for $39 for new riders only.

New customers can take advantage of this deal at CycleBar Livingston at 277 Eisenhower Parkway. Call them at 973-261-5647. Visit livingston.cyclebar.com.

Upcoming Events

Fri, June 22, 5:30 PM

Ginny Duenkel Pool, West Orange

West Orange Community Sports & Games Night

Fri, June 22, 8:00 PM

Education Center, West Orange

Night Moves: Evening Guided Zoo Tours

Education Other

Carousel_image_5e177eaae57739064cd4_397f63ad2fb50392a776_29178074_2107642336134787_2638697507160326144_n

Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM

Totowa

MakerFest 2018

Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Foundation Donates New Scoreboard to the West Orange PAL Baseball Field

On Sunday, April 15, the West Orange PAL baseball teams began their opening ceremonies of the spring season with a heartfelt dedication of a new scoreboard, donated by the Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Foundation.  The foundation was created to honor the life of Michael, a lifelong West Orange resident, who tragically died in a car accident on the day after his 19th birthday, Aug.

Mt. Olive Memorial Weekend Tournament: Bringing Baseball Back to West Orange!

“I’ve got to find the right spot”

“Two out rally!”

“Protect the ball”

“You fired up? I’m fired up! I can’t hear you!”

“Breathe!” “Deep breath, reset”

“Whoa..where are you going?? You can’t move”

Just a few of the statements you may have heard this past weekend at the ...

Essex County Turtle Back Zoo Schedules Family Nights and Zoo-vies This Summer

June 21, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Essex County Turtle Back Zoo will have Family Nights with extended evening hours to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the months of July and August, with the last admission to the zoo at 8 p.m.

In addition, on Wednesday evenings during July and August, Zoo-vies, featuring animal-related movies, will be shown on the top floor of the Turtle Back Zoo Parking ...

My So-Called Graduation

The last of my children graduated from high school.  

 

My son and daughter threw their caps high into the air and cheered their liberation from one symbolic institution before contemplating their matriculation into other, much larger institutions significantly further away.  

 

Or at least far enough away that they won’t be needing rides home from ...