Interfaith Movement Turns 200, says Rabbi

November 22, 2006

Source: Savannah Morning News

The threat of impending doom has a way of bringing together even the most dissimilar neighbors.

That was the case in 1806 in Savannah, says Rabbi Arnold Mark Belzer.

Two years earlier on Sept. 8, a hurricane had ripped through the city from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. leaving much of the town in ruins. According to Charles C. Jones Jr.'s "History of Savannah, Ga.," more than 100 people were killed, crops were nearly destroyed and buildings such as the wharfs, homes, churches, the Exchange and Filature and the jail were severely damaged.

Then Mayor John Y. Noel proclaimed Dec. 10, 1806, a "Day of Supplication and Prayer to Almighty God," calling on businesses to close and clergy to lead a united appeal for God's mercy.

Noel had personally crafted a letter to the president of Congregation Mickve Israel inviting Jews to participate.

"Tho' you differ with other Societies in many important points yet with them you worship the only true God and with them you acknowledge his [sic] supreme power as well as his [sic] providential dispensation," the mayor wrote to the synagogue leaders.