The Morning Report
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One day after a shooting at Chabad of Poway synagogue, a nearby Jewish temple took action to enhance its embrace of those from other faiths and cultural backgrounds.
Members of Temple Adat Shalom in Poway voted Sunday to allow non-Jews to serve on its Board of Trustees, turning out in droves to do so in the aftermath of the violence two miles away that left one dead and three injured.
“The common humanity to strive for something better no matter what your faith of origin is, I think that strengthens us all,” said Temple Adat Shalom Rabbi David Castiglione.
The temple’s Board of Trustees has a wide array of responsibilities, ranging from budgeting to membership to marketing. The bylaws of the temple, founded in the 1970s, said board members must be Jewish.
Castiglione said times have changed and sectarianism was best left in the past.
“It doesn’t mean abandoning faith or abandoning the principles of faith, but actually living up to the more universalistic intentions of all faiths, including our own,” he said.
The temple’s meeting and vote had previously been planned for Sunday, and the congregation decided to stick to the schedule despite the events at Chabad that took place on the last day of Passover.
Noah Liker, who attended Temple Adat Shalom as a youth and whose parents still do, said he visited the temple on Sunday to show support for the community. Liker said he was fully supportive of the congregation’s move toward greater inclusion on its board, which he said was essential amid an uptick in attacks against people from different religions.
“Exclusion is detrimental and gets us to where we were [Saturday],” said Liker, a 23-year-old San Diegan.
Megan Moskowitz, 34, is the child of interfaith parents and part of an interfaith couple who has decided to raise their young son in the Jewish faith.
Moskowitz, who is Jewish and lives in Rancho Bernardo, said she spoke during the congregational meeting in support of allowing non-Jews to serve on the temple’s board.
“It’s my belief that a person should be on our board if they can best do the job, and some of those jobs are not religious at all,” she said.
“Amending the bylaws to allow families like ours to participate at a more-involved level will allow Adat Shalom to grow and become a stronger community,” Moskowitz added.
She and Castiglione acknowledged there was some resistance to the change, but it appeared to be a small minority of the congregation.
The rabbi said the recent hate crimes against people of faith worldwide have left him “really tired of the divisiveness.”
“The time has come to pick up the flame, pick up the torch and say to hell with the hate,” said Castiglione, who was wearing a blue wristband from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum that said, “Erase The Hate.”
“I’m not going to be reactive to it, I’m just going to lead the way to righteousness,” he continued. “By righteousness, I mean embracing love, embracing our common humanity, making this congregation a beacon of love and acceptance and outreach into the community.”
Castiglione said he hoped the congregation would join him in that approach rather than allow those carrying out religious violence to scare them away from such outreach efforts.
“We don’t allow them to beat us into submission or allow them to depress us,” he said. “We rise, and we live.”