The temple is one of the few in the nation involved in the Gamaliel Foundation.
By D.A. WILKINSON
VINDICATOR RELIGION EDITOR
YOUNGSTOWN -- One more congregation sees signs that it's time for change.
"The Mahoning Valley needs to go in a new direction," said Jan Mostov, chairman of Congregation Rodef Sholom social-action committee.
Toward that end, the temple will have its annual social-action Shabbat on Friday that will look at the area's future. The theme is "My Vision For the Future of the Mahoning Valley."
The panelists are the Rev. John Horner, pastor of St. John's Episcopal Church; Jay Williams, director of the Youngstown Community Development Agency; and Atty. Pat Rosenthal and Dr. Jim Converse of Common Wealth Inc.
All of the panelists are involved in a variety of improvement programs.
One of the latest proposals is the revitalization of Smoky Hollow east of Youngstown State University that was envisioned by the Rev. Mr. Horner and YSU President Dr. David Sweet. Plans for the estimated $250 million project are being completed.
Member of ACTION
The talk will be moderated by the Rev. Edward P. Noga, a past president of ACTION, the Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods.
ACTION represents urban and suburban congregations working together on issues ranging from corruption to litter.
One of ACTION's congregations is Rodef Sholom, the only local Jewish temple that's a member, said Rabbi Franklin Muller.
The rabbi noted that Rodef Sholom is one of the few Jewish congregations nationally that are involved in groups that are formed under ACTION's parent organization, the Gamaliel Foundation in Chicago.
But the response to the temple's involvement has been good.
"We've definitely been welcomed," said Rabbi Muller.
Both the rabbi and Mostov believe corrupt political leaders in the Mahoning Valley have been a roadblock to progress.
"So many of them have failed us," said Mostov.
Rabbi Muller said, "People want to take back the town from corrupt politicians."
A flier for the event on Valentine's Day states it is for "those of us who love and care deeply about the future of our city."
Mostov said the purpose of the event is twofold: To understand the activities under way to revitalize and improve the community, and to forge new links with other congregations and community groups.
"By forging those links, we get to know one another and learn to work together to improve the social, physical and political condition of the Mahoning Valley," Mostov said.
People of the Valley need to work together to make improvements, he added.
The temple has been involved in a variety of social-action programs in the past, ranging from cleaning up the neighborhood to aiding a Catholic program for needy women.