Guest Opinion: A Reminder for Our Times: Love Conquers Hate

November 03, 2018

Palo Alto Online | Guest Opinion
By Jean Lythcott

I was in the gathering of communities organized by and conducted at Congregation Beth Am last Sunday evening in response to the Saturday shootings and deaths at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

I learned about the gathering from some League of Women Voters Palo Alto friends who had planned to meet for dinner on Sunday at 7 p.m. to thank one of our own for the superb job she had done of arranging our "Pros and Cons of the Propositions" presentations. Early Sunday afternoon word and email spread among us about the gathering at Congregation Beth Am at 7 p.m. We rescheduled dinner to 5 p.m. so we could be there.

I arrived at 6:35 p.m., having miraculously found a parking place. The sanctuary was already full, but rows and rows and rows of chairs spread the crowd of people all the way to the back and to both sides. In the end, people were sitting on the window ledges on both sides of the sanctuary and some were on the floor. There were hundreds there.

As the evening unfolded, we moved from singing to listening to faith leaders and other speakers, alternating several speakers at a time between songs that were uplifting in words and sound. I think the opening song was something like "Be a sanctuary." But oh, all the rabbis, the Muslim leaders, the reverend of All Saints Episcopal Church, the young student from Kehillah Jewish High School, the Hindu leader and her son, and state Sen. Jerry Hill who spoke to us, and all those other faith leaders, like the reverend of University AME Zion church, who thronged the "bimah" at the end, how they moved me and so many, many people to tears and "Amens" and applause.