In the days immediately following Christmas, an interfaith group of local laity and clergy will join together Dec. 26-28 to honor the Feast Day of the Holy Innocents (Dec. 28). This is the day set aside in the Christian church to remember the harrowing escape of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus to Egypt and the slaughter of the innocents (Matthew 2:13-18). It is a biblical story that often goes untold and is typically excluded from the Christmas narrative.
In addition to a shared worship service, participants will fast and vigil as they seek to make an explicit connection between the experience of the Holy Family and the plight of immigrants in our community. Rabbi Rob Cabelli, of Temple Beth Israel, will reflect on the core Jewish teachings with regard to the “aliens and strangers” in our midst, a topic to which the Hebrew scriptures frequently refer. He states that the “bond of fellowship” we experience in our faith communities is nurtured in the “easy place first, the community defined by shared religious, ethnic, or cultural practices,” so that it then can be extended to “all those outside that smaller circle.” Cabelli adds, “If the second part is not fulfilled, in my opinion the first part is in vain.”
The first gathering will be from 7-8:30 p.m. Dec. 26 at St. Matthias Episcopal Church, 1 Dundee St. Rabbi Robert Cabelli will discuss “Understanding Immigration Through the Lens of Exodus, the Jewish Faith, and the Hebrew Scriptures.”