Compassion – A Community's Shared Value

When people of different faiths and backgrounds come together around a shared value, a space is created that is beautiful to say the least.  To kick off Compassion Month, Temple Beth El last week hosted a Compassion Shabbat “Standing United with Compassion”.  People from many different faiths came together to hear Rabbi Bruce Kadden (Temple Beth El), Prof. Samuel Torvend (PLU), Rev. Heidi Calhoun (Creator Lutheran Church) and Imam Ahmad Saleh (Islamic Center of Tacoma) speak to the necessity of compassion in our communities and throughout the world.

Compassion, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “a sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”  Empathy is trying to understanding how someone feels, and trying to imagine how that might feel for you.  Compassion takes it to the next level. It is trying to feel what that person is feeling, holding it, accepting it, and taking some form of action.

In March 2017, more than 30 faith leaders gathered to reflect on hate speech and threats of violence directed toward Jews and Muslims, immigrants, minorities, members of the LGBTQ community and others.  Empathy turned into compassion, and action began.  From that, “Standing United with Compassion Month” was created.  A statement, drafted by Professor Samuel Torvend of PLU, was provided to faith communities to share in solidarity against hate crimes and violence. 

Additionally, an emergency text network and system was created and put into place.  Faith leaders who are part of that network will be texted in case of a hate crime/violence emergency.

Compassion Month runs through November 12th.  What will your faith community do during that time to lead with compassion?  A list of ideas/resources can be found here.  Share your successes, stories and ideas – we’d love to hear them.  To share your compassion stories, e-mail them to

Join us in a Compassion Month closing service at the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Gathering, this year hosted by Immanuel Presbyterian, Tuesday, November 21st, 7:00 p.m.

“A lighted candle of compassion can easily illuminate the world more than the blinding light of anger, intolerance and violence combined.” ~Dodinsky

Share this story!