Not everything in my town works well, not everyone gets along, but there is one thing worth sharing.
I currently live in Monroe, NY (Montana is still over the horizon). Monroe is an edge of the suburbs bedroom community, most everyone who lives here works somewhere else. Like many towns, Monroe has had troubles with growth and differing visions of what the community should look like. The conflicts have regularly gone from vocal to legal.
I’m talking zoning here, not race or religion. Some have tried to paint it as such but I don’t buy that. Not for the great majority of people who live here. The most severe differences of view are between the Hasidic community and, it appears, everyone else. Differences in lifestyle and community couldn’t be further apart. This has been an issue involving both communities for years and doesn’t seem to have an easy resolution or much chance of compromise in the near future.
That’s one side of life in Monroe. The part that doesn’t work.
The other side is a study, a lesson, in living together. This past year the town government moved into a new town hall. Not brand new, it was built as a synagogue for a Jewish congregation. They worship on Saturdays.
As I understand it the building became more expensive than the congregation could manage. So, they rented the worship hall to a Christian congregation who was looking for a place of their own. Christians worship on Sunday.
Back to the town. The town government moved into the building and is using it as office space during the week. The business of the town during the week, a synagogue on Saturday and a Christian worship center on Sunday. All in one building.
To me this seems to be a study in how to work together, how to get along with your neighbor. Compromise and accommodation. Church and state are separate but not at odds. The three tenants differ in faith and possibly race and gender but it doesn’t matter.
Maybe there’s a lesson here.
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