SAN FRANCISCO -- With the rise in antisemitism and the persistence of racism, faith leaders in San Francisco's Jewish and Black communities say it's more important than ever this year to host interfaith and intercultural services.
Friday was the beginning of the 37th annual Martin Luther King Junior Pulpit Exchange between Third Baptist Church and Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco.
Through the decades religious leaders here say they have always leaned on one another to build a brighter future.
"This year feels like 'Thank God!' We've been doing this for 37 years so that when we have to be together in a time of turmoil, we're together," said Rabbi Beth Singer of Congregation Emanu-El.
On Friday night congregants from Third Baptist Church joined the congregation at Temple Emanu-El for their services.
Reverend Dr. Amos Brown Third Baptist Church gave the night's address, a message of unity.
"There's too much division, too much hate, too much war that we as human beings need to check ourselves and realize that we all came from one blood to dwell on this earth," said Rev. Brown.
The Black and Jewish communities have long worked in partnership going back to the days of Martin Luther King Jr and the early civil rights movement.
Over the past 60 years, faith leaders say the relationship between the two communities hasn't been without its struggles but they've continued to work to strengthen their bond.
They say this year especially has been a difficult one for both of them.
"I think, with everything that's going on in Israel, I think that presents a new challenge. I think everything that's going on in our country in terms of police brutality and racism and White supremacy. Things that we have to reckon with," said Rabbi Noah Westreich.
That is why now more than ever these faith leaders are doing what they can to lean on one another for strength, solidifying their bonds.
It's something Rev. Brown says his close friend Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud to see.
"Dr. King would say to all of us tonight, not just me, 'Well done Temple Emanu-El and Third Baptist. You are the embodiment of my dream of the beloved community,'" Rev. Brown said.
The second portion of this pulpit exchange will be at Third Baptist on Sunday at 10 a.m.
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