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Ron Wong
Mark Paredes, Rabbi Schachar Orenstein, Stake President George E. Jarvis and Sister Catherine Jarvis pose after the interfaith fireside in Montreal.

MONTREAL — Jews and Mormons hosted an Interfaith Public lecture on June 27 at a Mormon chapel in the Montreal area. The Montreal Quebec Mount Royal Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in collaboration with the Quebec Jewish Congress, hosted the lecture.

Special guest Mark Paredes spoke on "The Common Threads of Judaism and Mormonism" and highlighted the rich histories of the Jewish and Mormon faiths.

Three hundred people, representing both communities, attended the event.

Paredes began the event by relating a conversation between David Ben Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, and Elder Ezra Taft Benson — at the time a Mormon apostle — in which Ben Gurion said, "You know, there are no people in the world who understand the Jews like the Mormons." Elder Benson responded, "We need to know more about the Jews, and the Jews ought to know more about the Mormons."

Paredes, a high councilor in the Santa Monica California Stake and president of the Los Angeles office of the Zionist Organization of America, shared about the history, doctrine and current issues affecting the Jewish and Mormon faiths.

A panel discussion followed the lecture with participation by Rabbi Schachar Orenstein, of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in Montreal, and President David Galbraith, Montreal Quebec Temple president.

A highlight of the evening for many came when Rabbi Orenstein and President Galbraith spontaneously sang a duet of "Hine Ma Tov," a traditional Jewish hymn which means "How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity."

Catherine Jarvis