Congregation B'nai Israel is a charter member of Common Ground of Solano and Napa Counties.
Common Ground is a civic body of institutions committed to acting together on critical issues for the public good. Individually we can only do so much, collectively we can do much more.
Common Ground is made up of 14 churches located in Vallejo, Benicia, Napa, American Canyon and Fairfield, several non-profits and one synagogue (B'nai Israel).
A couple of years ago a "community organizer" addressed our Board of Directors meeting proposing we join the group. At that time I was not very interested. I am all for working to help those in Solano County that need help. Certainly there is much to be done in Vallejo, but I did not see the point of B'nai Israel joining this group. As president, I felt my focus had to be on the needs of B'nai Israel and our members. Why should we be extending our efforts beyond the walls of B'nai Israel?
Rabbi White took the lead on this issue and the Board of Directors voted to join Common Ground. What is in it for us, I thought, what is in it for B'nai Israel?
After two years of being part of and working with Common Ground, I now see the advantage to us and our B'nai Israel community. Common Ground has "put us on the map" with the religious groups of Solano County. Many of the people active in Common Ground did not know there is a Jewish synagogue in Vallejo.Now these churches and non-profits know we exist. Since most of these people have a Jewish friend or two, they have been spreading the word and creating interest among area Jews that are not affiliated with a synagogue. Also, our social events are promoted to the Common Ground membership and some of them are attending our fundraisers.
Rabbi White has become part of the Common Ground leadership. I smile when I see how the Ministers, Pastors and Priests love him. This is a tribute to the great Rabbi Saul White, of Blessed Memory, who was a pioneer in interfaith relations. His son, Rabbi David White is carrying that torch.
See Rabbi White's message in this bulletin for the upcoming Common Ground events at Congregation B'nai Israel.