Miami-Dade County

Jews observe Tisha B’Av to reflect on past with hope for future

On Tisha B’Av, which is the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, Jews throughout the world will commemorate the day on which the first and second temples in Jerusalem were destroyed and countless other tragedies befell the Jewish people.

They do this by fasting and chanting the Book of Lamentations, or Eicha. On that day, Jews collectively address what is known in Hebrew as sinat hinam, or baseless hatred, which is traditionally ascribed to the tragedies, and express the brokenness felt in order to ultimately return to a state of wholeness and connection.

According to a press release from Ellen Goldberg, nine synagogues from throughout Miami-Dade County will gather at 7 p.m. Aug. 4 at Temple Israel of Greater Miami at 137 NE 19th St. to reflect on the painful past and express hope for the future.

Participating synagogues include Bet Breira Samu-El Or Olom, Bet Shira Congregation, Beth David Congregation, Temple Beth Am, Temple Beth Or of Miami, and Temple Judea in Coral Gables and Temple Beth Sholom and Temple Emanu-El in Miami Beach. The service will be led by clergy from the participating congregations and will include prayers, songs and poetry.

Rabbi Tom Heyn, spiritual leader of Temple Israel of Greater Miami said the collaborative nature of the service which includes Reform and Conservative congregations, embodies the nature of Tisha B’Av’s message to move forward from divisiveness to embrace pluralism.

“Spiritually, there is tremendous benefit in bringing people together from different synagogues, denominations and faith traditions. It reminds us that what we have in common is far more important than what separates us,” Heyn said.

The service is open to the entire community. For more information, call Temple Israel at 305-573-5900 or at:

Archdiocese welcomes

new director

A warm Neighbors in Religion welcome to Stephen W. Colella, who recently was named director of Evangelism and Parish Life of the Archdiocese of Miami. The new position was created in keeping with the recommendations of the archdiocesan Synod.

Colella, who comes here from the Archdiocese of Boston, will also head the newly created Secretariat of Parish Life, which is part of a structural reorganization of Pastoral Center offices.

According to a press release from the Archdiocese of Miami, the Secretariat of Parish Life post was created to “better” reflect the priorities identified by the archdiocesan Synod.

Colella’s most recent position was as assistant director of the Office of the New Evangelization in the Archdiocese of Boston. He also served in Boston as manager of the Annual Catholic Appeal and coordinator of training and formation of the Office of Youth Ministry. Prior to that, Colella was coordinator of youth ministry for St. Paul Parish in Wellesley, Mass., and was ethics teacher, campus minister and head varsity soccer coach for Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury.

Colella has a undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Southern California, and a master’s degree in theology from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

The newly created Secretariat for Parish Life will include the Office of Evangelism and Parish Life, the Office of Marriage and Family Life, the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, the Office of Mission and the Office of Campus ministry.

Community invited

to Devotional Gathering

The congregation of the Baha’i Faith extends an invitation to the community to its next Devotional Gathering at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 31 at the Baha’i Center, 9300 S. Dixie Highway, Suite 209. The theme is “Truthfulness — the Basis of All Human Virtues.”

Members of the Baha’i Faith follow the teachings of Baha’U’Llah, which in Arabic means “glory of God,” said Frank Sheffey, a member at the center.

The Baha’i Faith started in Persia (now Iran) in 1844, Sheffey said.

“In 1850 Baha’U’Llah announced that mankind had entered a new era of spiritual realization; that the human race is one spiritual family and that God had sent messengers from time to time that taught fundamentally the same principles,” Sheffey said. “We say, God is one, mankind is one and all religions are one. We believe that God has a plan for the renewal of the world.” The Faith came to the United States in 1899.

The Baha’i Faith does not have clergy, Sheffey said.

“We have a local Spiritual Assembly that is elected by local believers. We also have a nationally elected body that assists the local communities, and an internationally elected body known as the Universal House of Justice that guides the affairs of the Baha’i Faith, worldwide, located on Mt. Carmel in Haifa, Israel.”

For more information, call Sheffey at 786-472-2240.