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Jewish and Latter-day Saint scholars just had an interfaith dialogue in Jerusalem. Now they're going to publish a book.

07/08/2019 12:02:45 PM


Trent Toone

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shakes hands with Rabbi Samuel L. Spector of Salt Lake City's Congregation Kol Ami at the BYU Jerusalem Center June 5, 2019.

SALT LAKE CITY — At the beginning of June, an event at the BYU Jerusalem Center featuring two prominent religious leaders — Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Rabbi Michael Melchior, the chief rabbi of Norway and a recognized leader in Israel — served as both a highlight and illustration of something even greater that is taking place between the two faiths.

Not only did BYU students and other invited guests listen to two insightful keynote addresses and witness firsthand a respectful interfaith dialogue between two faith leaders, but the program set the tone for other dialogues and study sessions held at the Shalom Hartman Institute, the Jerusalem campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and Bar Ilan University for Jewish and Latter-day Saint scholars, said Rabbi Mark Diamond, a professor of Jewish studies at Loyola Marymount University, who was there.

Rabbi Diamond, along with fellow attendees Rabbi Samuel L. Spector of Utah's Congregation Kol Ami and Brent Top, who served as dean of BYU's Religious Studies Center from 2013-2018, agree that the Jewish-Latter-day Saint Academic Dialogue Project is building new bridges of common ground and friendship between the two groups.


Synagogues are now conducting active shooter drills during services

07/04/2019 08:22:55 AM


In Salt Lake City, the Utah Highway Patrol gave Congregation Kol Ami, a liberal synagogue, a briefing on security procedures. While the briefing did not include an active drill, Rabbi Samuel Spector said just having a plan in place made people feel more comfortable.

“People were saying, ‘OK, now I’m thinking about what my escape route would be,’” Spector said. “If I’m here, could I throw my siddur at the person? I think that a lot of people, at least that night, started to think about their plan.”


Utah Memorial Day observances deeply personal for many

05/28/2019 05:58:48 PM


Cantor Wendy Elizabeth Bat-Sarah of Congregation Kol Ami offered the benediction. She thanked God for numerous blessings bestowed upon the United States.

"Out of the many nations of this world our county has been blessed with a singular opportunity to demonstrate how people of many faiths and heritages can live side by side and enrich one another's lives through friendship and sharing of our unique traditions," she said.


Keeping our Synagogue Safe

05/09/2019 04:04:59 PM


Rabbi Samuel L. Spector met with Chief Brown, Deputy Chief Scharman, and the leadership of the Salt Lake City Police Department and Deputy Chief of Staff for the mayor, David Litvack on security with Rabbi Avremi Zippel of Chabad and Andrea Alcabes of the JCC on Tuesday, May 7th.

They talked about making our synagogue spaces safer and encouraged joint cooperation. We’re in great hands with SLCPD, who are committed to our safety and who have not detected any current threats.

Hate crimes bill signed into law in Utah

04/03/2019 06:27:22 PM


Ben Winslow

SALT LAKE CITY -- After years and years of trying and failing, Utah finally has a working hate crimes law.

In a public ceremony at the Utah State Capitol on Tuesday, Governor Gary Herbert signed Senate Bill 103 into law.

"I think with the passage of Senate Bill 103, we are sending a message that everybody, every person, every individual in our society is worthy of dignity, respect and love," the governor said.


Thu, July 18 2019 15 Tammuz 5779