At Temple Israel interfaith activities with members from Christian denominations and the Islamic Society of Springfield have flourished in both formal and informal ways.
Emeritus Rabbi Barry Marks and our current Rabbi, Arthur Stern have been involved in The Greater Springfield Interfaith Association (GSIA). It is a community of individuals engaged in ministry from many different faith traditions.
The Greater Springfield Interfaith Association was founded in 1978 to serve the needs of religious professionals for fellowship and continuing education, as well as to answer the unmet needs of the community. Emeritus Rabbi Barry Marks was instrumental in the founding of this organization. Its traditions include monthly membership meetings for fellowship, devotions and learning; Annual Welcoming Banquet; GSIA Humanitarian of the Year Award; Interfaith Thanksgiving Service and Special Offering; Workshops and Seminars.
GSIA is not just for clergy who minister to congregations, but also for members of various faiths and religious orders who engage in other forms of ministry. Membership is open to those from the City of Springfield and surrounding area.
Temple Israel members along with members from Douglas Avenue Methodist Church, our neighbor to the east, have cooperated on several joint projects together. These have included monthly gatherings to exchange information on religious and cultural practices; voter registration campaigns; Compass for Kids (an after school program consisting of tutoring and meals); and, community gardening.
Children of Abraham is program sponsored by Westminster Presbyterian, First Presbyterian, Grace United Methodist Church, The Islamic Society of Greater Springfield and B’rit Yisrael (Springfield Board of Jewish Education) The goal of this program is to bring together Elementary and Middle School children in order to learn about each other and to do a charitable project together. Additionally, there is a goal to break bread together for a vegetarian meal all can enjoy. Temple Israel has been instrumental in helping B’rit Yisrael represent Judaism.Interfaith-Doc