To counteract a world fused with social and mainstream media channels, one that has become divided along racial, economic and political boundaries, Cherry Hill is set to hold a brand new community event through its Human Relations Advisory Committee (HRAC).
Dubbed a Thanksgiving Unity Program, the gathering is scheduled to take place on Thursday, Nov. 18, beginning at 7 p.m. at Temple Beth Sholom. Promising a slate of entertainment and reflection, the evening will feature singers, speakers, and dancers, all with a focus on the ties that bind the township as a diverse community, as well as a theme of giving thanks just ahead of the actual holiday.
“This program was planned by the committee, and it is a group that’s been formed and meeting regularly for about two years now, since Mayor Angulo entered office,” noted Councilwoman Michele Golkow on Nov. 3.
“The committee advises the mayor and council, which tries to bring people together to celebrate diversity, to promote respect and civil rights for all residents and visitors.”
The HRAC is composed of a cross-section of religious and civic leaders along with township administrators, who attempt to build bridges through understanding differences and finding common ground. Their aim is to cultivate intercultural and interfaith programs and events that draw from a wide swath of the community.
“This particular event was done to celebrate our diverse cultural tapestry and because we can, finally, get together in person after so long apart,” Golkow mentioned.
All residents interested in participating will be able to do so, either in person or through online coverage, at: TBSonline.org/livestream. Planning to attend are Angulo, Council President David Fleisher, councilwoman Sangeeta Doshi, Cherry Hill Police Department Chaplain Ted Winsley and members of the HRAC.
“We want to keep everyone safe and comfortable. Inclusiveness of all in the community is important,” Golkow added, explaining that setting the right tone in regard to entertainment was crucial to drawing an audience.
“We are going to have the Cherry Hill East and Cherry Hill West choirs at the event,” she offered. “Each will perform separately, and then to close the program, both will come together and sing something in secret. There will be symbolism in that performance.”
Also set to take the stage is a Korean drumming ensemble as well as a children’s choir from Temple Beth Sholom. Leaders from all the major religions will attend, and each will offer words of inspiration. One orator is expected to read from Abraham Lincoln’s thoughts on Thanksgiving.
The committee also felt it was appropriate to connect directly with the holiday season, so food donations will be accepted for future distribution to the Cherry Hill Food Pantry, as well as the Betsy & Peter Fischer Food Pantries connected to the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of South Jersey.
“We still have a need for food here, and many are wrestling with food insecurity,’ Golkow noted. “We’re asking for, and welcoming any and all donations.”
For more information about Temple Beth Sholom, visit https://www.tbsonline.org/.
For more information on the Cherry Hill Food Pantry, visit https://cherryhillfoodpantry.org/.
To find out more about the Human Relations Advisory Committee, visit its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CherryHillHRC/.