Rabbi heads interfaith service at governors inaugural weekend

SACRAMENTO — Building a new covenant encompassing all religions was the theme of the interfaith ecumenical service held Sunday during Gov. Gray Davis' inauguration weekend.

Rabbi Brad Bloom, who organized the 90-minute service at the Sacramento Convention Center, started his keynote speech by quoting a passage from Deuteronomy that describes all children of Israel receiving the Torah from Moses and their entrance into the covenant.

"These words ring equally true today. We, too, stand together in a holy convocation just as in the time of the Bible," said Bloom, who is senior rabbi of Sacramento's Reform Congregation B'nai Israel and heads the city's Interfaith Service Bureau.

Clerics from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu faiths expressed a similar message as they offered a blessing to Davis and his wife, Sharon.

"It is truly amazing to behold the site of so many clergy representing many of the world's great religions," Bloom said. "Our presence should be a reminder to everyone that the role of religion should be to nurture the spirit and to build a moral society.

"Let the day come soon, the day we have all longed for, when these kinds of values will enable our leaders and our citizenry to reject the cultures of hatred, intolerance and self-indulgence."