Rockland hosts forum to promote healing during ongoing Israel-Hamas war
Rockland County, home to the nation's largest Jewish population per capita and one of the state's most diverse regions, held an event Wednesday night to promote healing during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
The "Great Healing Forum" was led by the county's human rights commission and co-moderated by Holocaust Museum and Center for Tolerance & Education Trustee Paul Adler and Iqra Darul Ehsan co-founder Syed Ali.
The Holocaust Museum and Center for Tolerance & Education at Rockland Community College in Suffern has a mission to educate through the lens of the Holocaust about the dangers of intolerance. Iqra Darul Ehsan is a Muslim religious center and school in Suffern.
The event comes at a time of rising tension between various religious and political groups and an increase in both antisemitic and Islamophobic hate crimes nationwide.
"Tonight is not about litigating various issues but rather coming together...to show the county, state, and nation that Rockland County can come together with healing arms wrapped around one another," said Adler.
The event was designed for people of different faiths and backgrounds to see and hear one another, better understand where everyone comes from, and understand that not agreeing is acceptable as long as it's peaceful.
Close to 100 people showed up and asked the panel a wide variety of questions ranging from; "What is your favorite part about Jewish and Muslim culture?," "Will there ever be peace?" and "How do we move this conversation forward?"
Both co-moderators said Rockland's diversity means international events always hit close to home in the Hudson Valley.
"Please break the cycle of hate. Promote a hateless culture," said Ali.
The panel encouraged holding similar events in the future to continue the conversation and offer people an opportunity to heal together.