Last Saturday was an historic occasion for me. It was the first time I have been invited to attend and speak at a Jewish Synagogue for Shabbat (Sabbath) services.  I’ve attended Jewish services before aboard Navy ships and bases, but never with a full Temple community.  Fathers Sacca, Castillo, and Nguyen accompanied me, as well as Deacon McGowan, our Ecumenical Committee chair.   Rabbi Mark Bloom of Temple Beth Abraham had kindly invited me.  This Jewish Congregation is located very near our Cathedral parish in Oakland.  The service was conducted almost totally in Hebrew.

The next day I invited Rabbi Bloom to share his  reflections after Communion at our Cathedral Sunday Mass. The Rabbi gave an outstanding talk on the Book of Ezekiel passage we had proclaimed at the Mass.  Rabbi Bloom’s parents attended, as well as about twenty members of his Congregation.  Rabbi Bloom’s talk was very moving and I invite you to listen to it here.  Pope Francis has said “Inside every Christian is a Jew.”  I hope we Jews and Catholics can work together as witnesses to God’s loving presence in our city of Oakland.

Fr. Nguyen, Rabbi Bloom

Bishop Barber and Rabbi Bloom after MassRabbi and Bishop, Parish HallPhotos courtesy of Al Pacciorini/The Catholic Voice