For Tait Eyre (BS ’94), the stake president of the Irvine California stake, the chance to serve the Shir-Ha-Ma’a Lot Jewish Congregation was an opportunity born of simple logistics: In 2016 the SHM Congregation couldn’t find a suitable temporary place of worship while their synagogue was being renovated; the Irvine Stake Center was used for worship on Sundays but was vacant on Fridays, the Jewish day of worship. President Eyre offered the use of the building to the SHM and they gratefully accepted. In time, this act of service became a blessing to both the LDS and Jewish communities.
Throughout 2017, Rabbi Steinberg’s congregation worshipped in the Irvine Stake Center every Friday. The decision to share the building went without any issue, and Eyre noted the Jewish congregation was a joy to work with. Rabbi Steinberg liked how the LDS members “opened their doors with love and kindness,” and appreciated their desire to serve the SHM congregation. During his last sermon in the Irvine Stake Center, Steinberg expressed his gratitude for their Mormon neighbors, pronounced a blessing upon them, and announced a space in their synagogue would be dedicated in honor of the LDS Church, according to Church News.
Eyre said the biggest benefit of serving another faith was the constant goodwill shown towards members of his stake. “The Jewish members were so grateful they often praised the church to their friends, neighbors and coworkers . . . and (expressed) how thankful they are to use our church.”
Eyre’s experiences remain inseparable from his education at BYU, where he learned to serve others. “BYU taught me that we strive to learn so that we can help others and serve, not just get a career or make an income. . . . BYU played a part in this and everything else I try to contribute to our church and local community.”
For any BYU students and alumni looking for ways to serve members of another faith, Eyre urges them to look past the initial awkwardness of reaching out. These personal introductions and relationships are vital to giving future service. “Finding ways to provide meaningful service to other faiths or to find ways to serve alongside other faiths have been the most effective ways our members in Irvine have [to build] lasting bridges of friendship,” Eyre says.