What an inspiring story about how we can work together with those of other faiths to help others in times of crisis and mourning. The following was written by Dan Yurman, a Jewish community leader.
It began with a phone call on a cold winter day in January 1998. The purpose of the call, from a neighboring Mormon bishop I’d never spoken with before, was unusual: He was requesting a minyan [a special quorum of Jews required for certain religious rituals].
As president of a small lay-led congregation in Idaho Falls, Idaho — one of the only two Jewish congregations in the state — I often got inquiries back then from other religious institutions nearby about Jewish matters. But this one startled me.
My caller, whose name has faded from my memory with the passage of time, explained that he was formally requesting my assistance in assembling the necessary minyan to say prayers communally for a departed soul.
After recovering my composure, I asked the obvious questions: Who is the deceased? What are the names of the surviving family members? Then the mystery got deeper: My caller said he could not identify the deceased or the family.