GREENWICH, Conn. – About 100 Greenwich residents braved the cold to meet in front of Christ Church on Thursday evening to celebrate the holiday season with an interfaith celebration of lights.
Members of Temple Sholom lit eight torches and sang songs to celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah. Then parishioners of Christ Church Greenwich lit up a Christmas tree and sang carols.
In the fourth annual meeting of the two faiths and congregations, Rabbi David Saiger of Temple Sholom was moved by the historic significance of the event.
“This was unthinkable for hundreds of years. It’s an amazing turn of historic events that we can do this here in Greenwich at such a beautiful setting,” Saiger said. “This is only the tip of a very large iceberg in the ways we join together, celebrate together and learn from each other.”
The Rev. Jim Lemler, rector of Christ Church, reached out to Rabbi Mitch Hurvitz of Temple Sholom in 2008 to coordinate the event after a Greenwich resident donated a large Christmas tree to the church. He felt the use of light in both Christmas and Hanukkah could bring the two faiths together.
“These two faiths are so intimately and closely connected with each other, but especially this holiday season, which is so focused on light and life,” Lemler said. “And I said, ‘Why don’t we celebrate the light of both of the realities of Christmas and Hanukkah.”
The children’s choir from Temple Shalom sang “Maoz Tzur,” which means “Rock of Ages” in Hebrew, with the help of the bells from Christ Church. The Christ Church children’s choir performed “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing.”