After meeting for a year in an LDS stake center, the Shir-Ha-Ma’alot Jewish congregation listened to a Shabbat service sermon by Rabbi Richard Steinberg titled, “What We Have Learned from Our Friends.”
The Oct. 13 service was the last time the Jewish group would meet at the Church’s Irvine California Stake Center. Members of the stake were invited by the rabbi to join the evening’s service. More than 200 Jews and Mormons met together. Those in attendance welcomed each other with expressions of gratitude, handshakes and Shabbat greetings.
A year before, leaders of the synagogue were looking for a place to worship while their building was being renovated. President Tait Eyre of the Irvine stake heard the Jewish congregation was in need and offered the meetinghouse as an option.
“Our purpose for doing this was to strengthen our relationship between our faiths,” President Eyre said. When Rabbi Steinberg came to visit the building he was a bit surprised by the opportunity. The rabbi was told by President Eyre that it is, “our religious duty to share our space” when possible.
The Jewish congregation used the building on Friday nights and Saturday mornings — times when the stake members typically did not need the facilities. Priesthood holders in the stake were there to host the Jewish congregation each time they met in the building. The Church standards of no smoking, no coffee and no alcohol in the building applied for the Jewish services as well.
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