Notre Dame Club to visit Greensburg synagogue for special Shabbat service
In the days after the Tree of Life Congregation shooting, Monsignor Roger Statnick thought about ways he and his fellow Catholics could show support for the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and Greensburg.
Then he met Rabbi Stacy Petersohn of Congregation Emanu-El Israel in Greensburg.
The introduction turned into an opportunity for the Notre Dame Club of Greensburg/Uniontown to visit the synagogue on North Main Street. Club members will attend a special Shabbat service at 7 p.m. Jan. 18.
“This is an opportune time for us to connect with our Jewish brothers and sisters and show our support,” said Statnick, Notre Dame Club event chairman.
Statnick said the visit fits with the club’s mission, which is to support the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s “Six C’s” — Camaraderie, Catholic Spirituality, Current Students, Community Service, Continuing Education and Communication.
“We’ve been doing things that will broaden our understanding of other religions,” said Statnick, a retired priest and Notre Dame alumnus.
In 2018, the club spent a Sunday afternoon at the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh.
Christianity and Judaism share a “special bond,” as articulated in “Nostra Aetate,” the Vatican II document on Judaism and other world religions, Statnick said.
In the 1990s, Statnick was involved with bringing PBS broadcaster Bill Moyers to Saint Vincent College for a lecture on the shared religious texts of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
Statnick said he also tried to foster Christian-Jewish understanding while he was rector at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral from 2005-10 by working with then-Rabbi Sara Rae Perman. The Greensburg cathedral and synagogue are next door to each other.
Petersohn said the Notre Dame Club will attend a Shabbat service devoted to a Seder meal for the Jewish holiday Tu B’Shevat. The holiday falls on the 15th day of Shevat and marks the mid-winter blooming of the almond trees in Israel.
“I’m really glad they’re joining us on this particular night,” Petersohn said. “It’s a chance for them to experience a part of our tradition that is not as well known outside the Jewish world.”
The Seder will be followed by a tour of the synagogue and a discussion on the current state of Jewish-Christian relations.
Notre Dame alumni, friends and fans interested in attending should email Statnick at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, email@example.com or via Twitter @shuba_trib.