Published May 03, 2016
With the snowfall in Boston nearing biblical proportions, three of the world's great religions came together in an appeal to the Almighty and to citizens of Beantown.
Thirteen of the city’s Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders joined together for a YouTube video in which the asked the heavens for a break from the near 100 inches of snow that has blanketed the city. Short of stopping the snow, the video, with a soundtrack that includes Eric Clapton’s “Hard Times Blues” and Sam Cooke’s “This Little Light of Mine,” calls Boston to stay strong and for folks to help those who “don’t have the luxury of snow days” with anything from “a casserole” to “a phone call.”
"Boston, are you weary?" the clergy ask.
The Rev. Nancy Taylor, who is shown falling into a large snowbank, told the Boston Globe the faith leaders wanted to convey two messages.
“First, we feel your pain, Boston, for this cold is brutish and dangerous,” Taylor, senior minister of Old South Church in Copley Square, told the paper.“Second . . . in the foreseeable future, any warmth we can generate will come from human kindness. Such warmth is worth a lot. It can be a game-changer.”
Suzan M. El-Rayess, director of development at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, speaks from the mosque’s chilly front steps. The Rev. Jay Williams of Union United Methodist Church, grips a shovel in the video, and they and other members urge the city to pull together.
“This winter has hit families really hard and…our first thought was to get people together,” said Rabbi Matt Soffer of Temple Israel of Boston. “Every time we tried to physically bring people together, another snow storm would hit.”
The video, edited by Emma Sandler, was posted on Friday on the Temple Israel of Boston’s YouTube channel. Soffer said all of the religious leaders were serious about pooling their powers of prayer.
“Within Greater Boston, we know it’s been a tough few weeks and I think a simple word of encouragement goes a long way,” said the Rev. Burn Stanfield, president of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization.
The city has seen the second-most snow since records have been kept, causing problems for the city’s public transportation, roofs collapsing and several days of school being missed causing much strife for its residents.
“We are in this together,” the various leaders remind residents as they stand among the snow drifts piles and icy streets of the city.
The video has quickly gained a lot of traction, amassing over 12,000 views over the weekend.
“[The response was] overwhelmingly positive and I was surprised at the numbers of people who watched the video,” said Cantor Jodi Sufrin of Temple Beth Elohim, who also appeared in the video. “I’m always impressed of how quickly social media can circulate to reach so many people.”
Soffer thinks this could be a new way of communicating with the various faith communities in Boston.
“We all have an obligation to communicate with our people the best way we possibly can and I see [YouTube] as one of the many tools in the toolbox,” he said. “The times are changing and now there’s even better ways to bring people together.”