Building Bridges – Learning To Understand Each Other’s Culture Through Dialogue

dialogue[Reader Submitted – Bill Hobday] I was honored to be an invited guest at a meeting that was coordinated by the Mr. Ken Seda and the Lakewood Community Coalition, on Wednesday. Pastors Hector and Rachel Salguero and the congregation of the Missionary Pentecostal Church hosted the event.  The topic of the meeting was learning to understand each other’s culture….through dialogue.  Guest speakers were Ben Heinemann and Nechema Basser from Lakewood’s Orthodox Community.  Ben and Nechema both presented a wonderful account of Orthodox culture and living, and Pastor Rachel Salguero presented and equally wonderful account of Latino culture and living, and also conducted translation for the mostly Latino audience. 

Nechema thrilled the audience by opening her remarks flawlessly with the Spanish Language, and then continued her dialogue in the English Language. She described her typical day in the life of an Orthodox woman with humor, sensitivity, and sincerity. Ms. Basser is a wonderful ambassador of good will as she reached out to connect with people of a different culture.

Ben delivered his message with humorous antidotes. He missed his calling as a stand-up comedian.  The audience laughed along as he described the misunderstandings that sometimes occur between people of different cultures. Mr. Heinemann then proceeded to deliver a well-prepared presentation of Orthodox Jewish Culture and heritage, laced with a historical prospective of the growth of Beth Medrash Govoha and the associated growth of the Orthodox Community in Lakewood Township. Mr. Heinemann said that there are approximately 50,000 Orthodox Jews, living in Lakewood Township.

Pastor Rachel Salguero then delivered a touching and humorous account of a day in the life of a Latino woman. She thanked the presenters and the Lakewood Community Coalition for the opportunity to share experiences and culture through dialogue. 

I was touched by the great communication and the obvious conclusion that most cultures share common values. Both cultures have a strong belief in serving God, each in their own words and each in their own way. The common denominator is God and family. I have always believed that the things that we value are the same.  We need to celebrate our common beliefs and values. 

The Missionary Pentecostal Church, and Pastors Hector and Rachel Salguero were the first Christian Church to reach out to the Orthodox Community in an effort help each other understand each other’s culture. I thank all that participated. This was a good experience.

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  1. This is wonderful. I hope those who type such negative comments on here actually read this letter and give it the kuddos it deserves. Well done!

  2. If you didn’t know there were problems, you have your head in the sand. For years Hispanics have accused the Orthodox of getting preferential treatment in Section 8 housing. The general population accuses the Orthodox of diverting money to the yeshivas and that is why they dominate the Bd of Ed. Hispanics are blamed for being illegals and criminals by the Orthodox. Distrust and accusations have been flying back and forth between the various groups in Lakewood for years.

  3. all the latino mexicans around lakewood is just a reminder from Hashem that lakewood is not your/our home it is just temporarily. ERETZ YISROEL IS OUR REAL HOME but we just don’t seem to miss it. Hashem is telling us when you can show me that you miss Eretz Yisroel & go there i will give you Mashiach & the bais hamikdosh but right now your all just not ready.

  4. I didn’t think there was a problem here either. Not sure of the need of this . I’m a Jew who loves all the Blacks , Hispanics and elderly. (except the criminlas and those that want to kill jews)

  5. I love TLS, and thank the editors for allowing me to post this newsworthy item. It is my belief that all people of good will need to celebrate their common beliefs and values, as we discuss and try to resolve our differences. That is what dialogue is all about. When people come together to advance the common good of mankind, through open forums, it helps to invigorate an understanding that we need to demonstrate mutual respect and understanding of each others culture and nurturing.

    Lakewood is a safe place for all religions, races, cultures and creeds. We are all part of the Human Race.

  6. I moved to this town almost 9 yrs ago. When I moved here, I had not a clue about the Jewish community. As I worked in the town, I became very curious about the faith, so I started asking questions and was surprised that most were happy to explain things to me. About 3 yrs ago, I met a Rabi at my job and talked to him alot and one day he surprised me with a book about all the holidays, the different mths,etc. I love that book, he gave it to me about 2 yrs ago and I think I have it memorized 🙂
    I live in the heart of this community (by the lake) and I love the holidays. I sit outside with a cup of coffee, and smile as families walk by. One on of my favorite holidays last yr ( purim ), the man that lives next door from me, went outside with some children and began singing and dancing. It bought tears to my eyes, and seeing that made me feel the holiday, not just read the holiday.
    As I learned about different things, it allowed me to explain it to family, friends and even customers at my job. I like to tell people, Don’t hate, Educate 🙂
    Happy Purim

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