Jewish group, Rhinebeck church join forces to bridge cultural, political divides

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Rev. Louis Perez and Karen Hochhauser

RHINEBECK – With all the violence and hate rhetoric spewing out around the country and the globe these days, two area religious organizations are teaming up to bring the community together.

The Jewish Federation of Dutchess County and the Rhinebeck Reformed Church are sponsoring a speaker series, a Lunch and Learn and movie screenings, all aimed at bridging the cultural and political divide, noted Karen Hochhauser, executive director of the Jewish Federation.

“It’s really about building community and together we are all stronger,” Hochhauser said. “When we strengthen those relationships and understanding of each other, we are all stronger together and we are all here to try to make this place a better place than when we came.”

Rhinebeck Reformed Church Pastor Luis Perez said the “ethics, values and spirituality embedded in Judaism and in Christianity offers us with battle-tested resources for our trying times, and I believe that experiencing a sense of authentic community, which we universally crave for, requires a commitment to learn from each other, serve each other, and support each other through acts of unabashed hospitality.”

On September 8 at 3 p.m., the Faith, Media and Society programming will hear from Yardena Schwartz, an American journalist based in Tel Aviv, who will share her insight on “the complex story that is Israel.”

On September 15, the two partners will present the first free Lunch and Learn Lecture Series led by Dr. Bruce Chilton of Bard College who will discuss “The Rise of Hate – the Jewish and Christian Response.”

On November 5, Bard will join in the collaboration with a Film and Faith viewing of “The Presence of Their Absence,” a story of a son of Holocaust survivors.