When he was asked to present a six-word bio at an interfaith breakfast recently, Rabbi Mark Sameth of the Pleasantville Community Synagogue came up with this: “Nashville songwriter turned rabbi: Who knew?”

Maybe it took a country-and-western rabbi to put together the interfaith Thanksgiving service that ended Sunday with Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists singing “This Land Is Your Land” along with Woody Guthrie’s daughter, Nora Guthrie.

But then the idea for doing the song came not from Rabbi Sameth, but from the Rev. Steven Phillips, pastor of the United Methodist Church of Pleasantville, who is sort of a bluegrass minister. If it takes a country-and-western rabbi and a bluegrass minister to make a point, so much the better.

This is the season of good vibrations, or at least better vibrations than the rest of another crummy year. And interfaith services in Westchester County and elsewhere are getting to be as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey, football and indigestion. Yet that is not to say there isn’t a message in it all.



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