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  • Writer's picturedanaevankaplan

Hundreds stand in solidarity with Israel during interfaith prayer service

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Published in the Daily Independent, Phoenix, Arizona

Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2023 7:53 am

SUBMITTED PHOTO/BERNIE ARUM Rabbi Mindie Snyder, chaplain for Sun Health Communities Department of Spiritual Life, says a prayer during the interfaith prayer service to stand in solidarity with Israel at Temple Beth Shalom of the West Valley Oct. 17.

Hundreds of people of different faiths joined Temple Beth Shalom of the West Valley members to stand in solidarity with Israel during an interfaith prayer service Oct. 17 in the Sun City synagogue’s sanctuary.

They joined together in prayer for Israel and its people, the safe return of the hostages, safety of the Israel Defense Forces, healing of those innocent Israelis and tourists wounded in body and soul and the comfort of grieving loved ones.

“We want to build a large unified interfaith community in the West Valley that will support Israel in its time of need,” said Temple Beth Shalom of the West Valley Rabbi Dana Evan Kaplan. “The religious leaders gathering together are very different in their religious views and political opinions, and we want to concentrate on the need for prayer in response to the terrible atrocities that Hamas committed against innocent Israeli civilians, foreign tourists, students and agricultural workers.”

Along with Rabbi Kaplan, Temple Beth Shalom Cantor Baruch Koritan and Board President Steve Bold participated in the interfaith prayer service.

Clergy from neighboring communities, who shared prayers and statements, included: Pastor Tom Tripp, First Presbyterian Church; Pastor Ryan Hersch, Peace Lutheran Church; Pastor Bill Bjork, Grace Bible Church; Pastor Pam Reynolds and Pastor Steve Beyer, Lord of Life Lutheran Church; Rev. Sharon Connor, Unity Spiritual Center; Deacon Debbie Greenleaf, Advent Episcopal Church; Rabbi Mindie Snyder, Department of Spiritual Life, Chaplain, Sun Health Communities; Ed Casper, Soka Gakkai International Nichiren Buddist community; Pastor Kathleen Puntar, First United Methodist Church of Sun City; and Rabbi Jeff Lipschultz, Rabbi at Avista hospice and at the Palazzo Senior Living Center.

Several people described their personal connections to Israel, including Barbara Gabriella Sodos, granddaughter of Temple Beth Shalom member Jan Sodos. Barbara, who lives in Holon, Israel, shared how her boyfriend was called up as a reserve senior medical officer and will be a first responder after troops go in on foot.

The Interfaith Solidarity Service is available for viewing on YouTube,

More information about Temple Beth Shalom of the West Valley is available at

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