Community Vigil in Japantown

Thursday evening, several hundred people gathered in front of the Buddhist San Jose Temple Betsuin to remember the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and to pledge their support for relief and rebuilding efforts in that country.

The brief service, organized by the Japantown Community Congress of San Jose (JCCsj), featured brief comments by local elected officials and religious leaders of the different traditions of the Valley bringing prayers, condolences, and messages of support for the Japanese people and the Japanese-American community locally.

Speakers included San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo, and messages from Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Michael Honda, and the Japanese Embassy. Representatives of religious and interreligious organizations who spoke came from the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council, the Council of Churches of Santa Clara County, the Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice, and Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Methodist, Jain, Catholic, and Jewish communities.

The service was concluded by Rinban Kenshin Fujimoto, head minister of the Buddhist Temple, who read a letter from a friend in the affected area who described the indomitable spirit with which people were facing the disaster. Finally, Rev. Gerald Sakimoto rang the temple bell for a few moments of silent meditation and prayer.

The Silicon Valley Interreligious Council has a list of suggestions of ways to get involved in relief efforts through faith-based, general, and local community organizations at their website: www.sivicouncil.org

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