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A Turning Point: Chris Webb moderates panel discussion about antisemitism

Park Synagogue and Cory United Methodist Church share history that goes back a century, but they are looking toward the future to help fight racism.

CLEVELAND — The tie that binds the Park-Cory Connection is deep and continues to impact Northeast Ohio.

Park Synagogue and Cory United Methodist Church share history that goes back a century, but they are looking toward the future to help fight racism.

Tuesday night on WKYC.com, the WKYC app, and YouTube, 3News presented our latest A Turning Point panel discussion which focused on antisemitism. The panel was moderated by 3News contributor Chris Webb, who was joined by Rev. Gregory Kendrick Jr. of Cory United Methodist Church and Ellen Petler, program coordinator of Park Synagogue. 

Cory United Methodist Church uses the same building on East 105th Street in Cleveland that housed Park Synagogue from the 1920s to the 1950s. 

“Park Synagogue's congregation is over 150 years old and in the 1920s, the congregation built this building on 105th Street in the Glenville neighborhood,” explained Petler.

In late 2015, the two congregations first decided to come together to create two Little Free Libraries. The Park-Cory Connection was formed several months later and has been committed to offering programs to help make positive changes in our society ever since.  

“The primary aim of the Park-Cory Connection is about how do we link these two historic congregations that have a physical space in [their] history but there also is a shared foe that we have which is which is injustice and hate that both black folk and our Jewish siblings have also had to deal with," said Rev. Kendrick.

Rev. Kendrick and Petler recalled one of their first joint events, "Real Talk: Racism and Antisemitism." 

“Myself and Rabbi Joshua Skoff we did a dialogue together and that was a seminal moment because we were able to have these two religious leaders kind of have this conversation about what it looks like to kind of deal with issues of racism and antisemitism,” Rev. Kendrick explained.

“And from that program we created an offshoot called the Affordable Housing Task Force,” Petler added. “This task force was a wonderful way that programming went beyond just being a program, to action.”

The two congregations say they share a difficult history of persecution, as Jews and as African-Americans, and are coming together to learn more about their histories.

“The work of hate is always to separate, which is why the work of love is always the sense of unity,” Rev. Kendrick added.

You can watch Tuesday's A Turning Point panel discussion in the player below:

A Turning Point is focusing on antisemitism and protecting the Jewish community in Northeast Ohio with Holocaust Remembrance Day set for Thursday, April 28. That evening, 3News will present A Turning Point: Antisemitism on Front Row at 7 p.m. 

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