Brotherhood Night: Years Ago It Was Good Too
Happy Thanksgiving to you! Although this day is the unofficial start of the holiday season (when does it start officially?), Canarsie began its commemoration last Monday night with its own Brotherhood Night at Temple Emanuel of Canarsie. Represen-tatives of just about every denomination were present to not only greet each other in "fellowship," but to give proper, spiritual thanks for what we have.
It was indeed encouraging to see so many people take part in the services. As you may know, it’s an annual service that we’d been doing for about a score of years. It has been held at synagogues and churches throughout the community and has been sponsored by a number of groups, especially the Canarsie Lions Club. They’ve been there since the beginning.
The attendance at the most recent service appeared to be quite large, at least compared to some others. Before September 11th, 2001, the attendance seemed to wane slightly, although the faith of the congregation was always strong. However, since that infamous day, attendance has been larger. It figures.
The concept of Brotherhood Night came about around 1983 when the Lions Club and its then-chaplain, the late Rev. John Comellas, spiritual leader of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, got together with the pastors and rabbis of churches and congregations and an interdenominational service was held, naturally, just before Thanksgiving.
There was a great deal of hoopla and media publicity and the first service — I think it was at Temple Emanuel that time too — was well attended (I suppose you could call it a great success). The following year, the result was about the same, as it was held at St. Alban’s on Farragut Road.
For some reason, the next year’s service was a disaster! It was held at Holy Family Church, which is large, especially large if you compare it to St. Alban’s and Temple Emanuel! Therefore, when no more than a handful of people attended and were seated in the dark pews near the sanctuary, it even looked worse!
The fact that the attendance was sparse, to say the least, didn’t deter Lions Club members or those brave souls who officiated and attended, though.
You see, the message was the same as that relayed during the first service; and the tenth service; and yes, the umpteenth, including last Monday.
Brotherhood and hope
Of course, it shouldn’t take a formal announcement or a community-oriented event to remind us of our shortcomings and how they can be circumvented. It’s not up to me to preach, of course, so you can take or leave what I say by just, uh, turning the page.
But it might just do some good in this world if we all make a small effort to pay a little attention to the Golden Rule. Easy enough, if you think about it. This Brotherhood thing shouldn’t have to be announced in the media, nor should it be relegated to being an annual affair.
How about doing it daily...by living it?