MONTEREY, California — On Sunday, April 10, 2016, more than forty Jews, Christians and Muslims united at Congregation Beth Israel in Carmel to prepare 100 meals for the homeless at Municipal Beach. Rabbi Bruce Greenbaum of Congregation Beth Israel, Rev. Brian Bajari of Beach Church, Rev. Anders Strindberg of The Deipara Initiative, and Br. Mehmet Stewart of Islamic Society of Monterey County led volunteer orientation, then all broke into small buddy groups to get acquainted before working together. Unexpected rain required last minute changes to the agenda. Instead of all volunteers going to the beach to serve the meal, a smaller group braved the storm to hand-deliver meals after all volunteers enjoyed lunch together at the synagogue. Dr. David Kolinsky recited a blessing before volunteers enjoyed delicious chicken biryani, prepared by Br. Agha Bilal. Often served in Pakistan and India at holiday celebrations, parties, and special occasions, Chicken biryani seemed most appropriate for this inaugural launch of the Abrahamic Alliance in the Monterey area. Abdel Kader Seck, president of Islamic Society of Monterey County, later remarked regarding the rain, "I believe GOD planned things this way to tell to us: 'You are about more than just feeding the homeless.' If you think about it, we spent more time together talking, drinking, laughing, and cooking than feeding the needy. And the time we spent knowing one another was priceless.” Amen and Ameen! Special thanks to Congregation Beth Israel, Beach Church, and Islamic Society of Monterey County for sponsoring. Thanks also to Rabbi Bruce Greenbaum, Rev. Brian Bajari, and Abdel Kader Seck for their excellent planning and leadership.
Photos courtesy of River Gurtin and Ana Moran Rivera. Image curator: Nathan Flohr