Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 21, 2013

Uniting in the spirit of community


Rabbi Robert Goldstein of Temple Emanuel of Andover was among those who attended Colleen’s wake, not because he knew her or her family, but to offer his support and comfort as both a member of the spiritual community and the greater community of Andover. Goldstein said he was touched by the extraordinary outpouring of love and compassion shown by the people who call Andover home.

In his column today on the celebration of Thanksgiving, Goldstein says there is something meaningful about gathering as a community to share our burdens and express our gratitude.

The year, he says, has been one of joy and tragedy, with examples of both triumph and, sadly, of evil on more than one occasion.

But Goldstein says Thanksgiving offers one of those rare opportunities when people of all faiths can gather, honoring our differences as individuals and celebrating all that we share as people.

On Sunday, Temple Emanuel of Andover will host the annual interfaith Thanksgiving service for the community. Members of the Christian, Jewish and Moslem communities will be among those participating in the service of prayer and song.

As the community gathers in thanksgiving, the Ritzers will continue grieving. It is Fr. Gori’s hope they will also continue to feel the warm embrace of their community and take comfort in knowing Colleen’s memory lives on and guides others in making a difference in the world — as she herself had sought to do.

“Side by side, it’s not that evil causes the greater good, but the experience is drawing out lots of goodness from people,” Gori said. “I hope it continues to do this. The choice is ours to be changed by this.”

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