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A Day at Temple. A Lifetime of Understanding

by Gary Moore, Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation

May all who seek to break the bonds of oppression, bigotry, and violence find freedom and peace.

While well-grounded in our Christian faith tradition, the Diocesan Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation recently participated in a deep-dive learning experience at Springhill Avenue Jewish Temple in Mobile, Alabama.

Each year or so, we engage in an in-service experience to learn more about topics, issues, traditions, methods of engaging in conversation, truth-telling, story sharing, and learning about different cultures and different faith traditions.

We were indeed fortunate to be invited to the Temple. Rabbi Edward Boraz and the Springhill Avenue Temple congregation were gracious in sharing their sacred religious space, faith, rituals, prayers, and practices. Remarkably, our Sunday liturgies incorporate many elements of the Friday evening services at the Temple. We discovered we have many similarities.

Professors Dr. David Meola (University of South Alabama) and Dr. Alex Ruble (Springhill College) spoke about the Holocaust and antisemitism.

This discussion led us to reflect upon the treatment of persons of color in our own country. Whether red, brown, black, or yellow, how they’ve been treated demonstrates common themes.

Dr. Donald Berry (retired professor at the University of Mobile and the current director of the Gulf Coast Holocaust Center) provided the framework of our experience and helped us shape excellent Q&A sessions. He has a very thoughtful way about him and he and Rabbi Boraz —who also has these wonderful characteristics —collaborated well with our goals in mind.

We enjoyed a Kosher meal at lunch and continued our probing conversations.

From the beautiful voice of the cantor, Ms. Mollie Adams, to the faithful religious leaders, to the brilliant college professors, to our engaged commission members, the day invested at Springhill Avenue Temple was a complete success.

NOTE: if any parish or day school desires to learn more about the Holocaust, please contact the Gulf Coast Holocaust Center which has special programs designed for different age groups. Contact Dr. Don Berry at


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