Human Rights Shabbat marked in Columbia


Columbia Jewish Congregation will have a more-meaningful-than-usual Shabbat this week, if that is possible.

For the sixth year, the shul will participate in Human Rights Shabbat, a program created by the international organization T’ruah. Services will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, at The Meeting House (5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia).

According to the executive director of T’ruah, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Human Rights Shabbat gives synagogues the opportunity to “shine a light” on some of the most pressing human rights issues of this century. Jacobs said congregations use prayer, sermons and educational panels to examine the issues.

At Columbia Jewish Congregation this year, according to spiritual leader Rabbi Sonya Starr, members will examine “where the idea of fighting for justice comes into our religion and what we have going on at our own congregation, and on what congregants — all year round — can participate in to make our world a better place.”

Starr said she expects up to 70 people at the service. She noted that the majority of the service will stay the same, but she will add or change some prayers in areas where there is more leeway to focus the evening on justice, peace and human rights.

“We are called to be God’s hands in this world and to partner with God to make it a better place — not just once a year, or twice a year, but every day,” said Starr. “This particular Shabbat, we rededicate ourselves to that calling and that mission to make the world a better place.”


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