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Ecumenical Outlook: Doing The Work Of God In Verona


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The Verona Rescue Squad does God’s work in a manner that is better than that of any church or synagogue. They save peoples’ lives not because they are Christian or Jewish or Muslim, but because they are people. They are one of the few institutions, which exist to help people for no other reason than those people are in need.

It does not matter what religion the patient might be. It does not matter if one is a believer or agnostic or an atheist. It does not matter the color of one’s skin. It does not matter what level of education one has. It does not matter how close one is to death. The men and the women on the Rescue Squad will respond to a tragedy or to a simple illness where the patient believes he or she needs help, which cannot be found at home.

Out of a sense of obligation for humankind they volunteer their days to save lives. No one pays them and often no one thanks them. Infrequently, but sometimes, the patient may die on the way to the hospital, and the only reward of the members of the Squad receive is the knowledge that they cared enough to try and save a life. Yet the death that occurred will live with those Squad members forever.

On a small scale, they are like Mother Theresa saving one life at a time and thanking God each time for the opportunity they had to serve their community. I am a member of the Verona Rescue Squad. By far I am not the most active member, but I serve my community with the understanding that all people are created in the image of God. I serve my Protestants, Catholics, Muslims and Jews and because of that I am a better man, a better Jew and a better rabbi.

Ecumenical Outlook is a weekly reflection by the leaders of Verona’s houses of worship. Rabbi Aaron Kriegel is the leader of Congregation Beth Ahm of West Essex, which has been in Verona for 75 years. It is located at 56 Grove Avenue, at the corner of Personette.

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