Religious leaders across Westchester work together to combat hate
More than a dozen religious leaders who recently returned from a trip to Israel are now working together to address societal ills.
"Sometimes titles and structures limit you, but when you get to know the actual person you find out there is really no difference between you and the other person," said Pastor Rev. Erwin Lee Trollinger, Jr., of Calvary Baptist Church in White Plains.
Rev. Trollinger was one of 16 religious leaders of Jewish and Christian faiths who went on the trip organized by the Westchester Jewish Council and sponsored by UJA Federation of New York in mid-May.
While they saw parts of the holy land, they saw what they had in common.
"We come back appreciating one another's faith and more importantly we appreciated one another," said. Rev. Trollinger.
The new friendships are now being utilized to tackle community ills like hate.
"I think its much harder to dehumanize another person or group of people when you know people," said Senior Rabbi Annie Tucker, Temple Israel.
Antisemitism and acts of hate are on the rise in Westchester.
Religious leaders are now planning to bring congregations together to learn about each other and break barriers.
"Remember hate is taught, hate is not something that is ones blood," said Rev. Trollinger.
The group also plans to work together on social justice issues and gun violence.
"I think its not for one church or synagogue or religious leader to solve its about a community coming together in joint purpose and having those relationships from our trip will hopefully help us be able to do that even better," said Rabbi Tucker.