By Valerie Steimle
On Saturday, September 29, 2018, at the Mesa Lehi Stake Center, members of the B’nai Shalom organization met for food, fun, dancing and a special presentation. B’nai Shalom means “Children of Peace,” which refers to those of Jewish ancestry who are also members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
With a large membership of Jews who have joined The Church in Salt Lake City, Utah, they organized the first meeting of B’Nai Shalom in 1967. Since that time, groups in Seattle and now Mesa have joined the organization to provide bi-annual meetings in promoting and enjoying Jewish culture, traditions and dancing.
Their mission statement reads: “Affiliation with B’nai Shalom is open to all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and others interested in promoting the objectives of the organization whether or not such persons are of Jewish ancestry. These objectives include belief in the gathering of Israel and the fulfillment of ancient covenants as described in the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 29; that it is an ensign proclaiming the gospel of Salvation.”
As a committee of three, Mira Daniels, Nancy Draper-Clark and Valerie Steimle-Hollobaugh, created an interesting and fun-filled evening for 35 people. This was the second such gathering to be held in Mesa, and the group plans to continue holding the gatherings shortly before or after each General Conference. Participants from across the Valley brought flavorful Jewish dishes to share at the Lehi Stake Center and ate while listening to traditional Jewish music. After the meal, they danced several popular traditional Jewish dances, including Hava Nagila.
After the dancing, Brother Garry Boyle, patriarch and author of A Loving Letter from God: Your Patriarchal Blessing, gave an informative presentation called “Using Your Patriarchal Blessing to Guide Your Life.”
Boyle remarked, “Cherish your blessing as a gift from a loving Father, and another testament of the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith. Remember that your loving letter from God deals with spiritual gifts, celestial goals, divine promises and rewards, and various temporal blessings and principles intended to support your spiritual development. Your blessing should also support your family’s spiritual development. Prepare your children to understand the value of a patriarchal blessing, to have a strong desire to know the will of God, and to recognize the feeling that attends spiritual experiences. I challenge you to rediscover your blessings and duties and to look forward to the promised rewards.”
His presentation was inspiring and helped all those who attended to appreciate what their own personal loving letter from God meant to them.
This was a wonderful experience and the group welcomes all who would like to participate. Their next gathering will be March 30th, 2019, says Mesa’s B’nai Shalom committee. For more information, see http://www.mormonsandjews.org.