Rabbi Ari Plost Presents Opening Prayer to Maryland Senate on March 14, Invokes Thomas Kennedy

March 18, 2018

Annapolis notes

By Tamela Baker

Representatives of the proposed Thomas Kennedy Center met with state officials last week in Annapolis. Pictured, from left, are Executive Director Tom Riford, Gov. Larry Hogan's Chief Legislative Officer Christopher B. Shank, Rabbi Ari Plost and sculptor Toby Mendez.

Senate invokes spirit of Thomas Kennedy

Rabbi Ari Plost of Hagerstown's Congregation B'nai Abraham delivered a prayer and a history lesson Wednesday to the Maryland Senate.

"Driven with a holy zeal to labor for Your noble cause, we were lifted up through an immigrant, patriot, legislator of this body, by the heroism of a man, Thomas Kennedy," he said. "This Christian man of faith, guided by Your rod and staff, walked through a valley of religious bigotry and anti-Semitism. Castigated by his opponents as an American Judas, he championed religious liberty throughout the land."

Kennedy, who represented Hagerstown in the Maryland General Assembly in the early 19th century, is remembered for the "Jew Bill," which extended political rights in Maryland to Jews — who, until that point, were excluded.

State Sen. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, reminded colleagues that plans for a Thomas Kennedy Center in Hagerstown are included in this year's capital-budget proposal.

Serafini noted that state Sen. Roger Manno, D-Montgomery, and a candidate for Congress in the Sixth District, is working with him to help establish the center.

It will feature a statue of Kennedy by local sculptor Toby Mendez, who also traveled Wednesday to Annapolis with Plost and Kennedy Center Executive Director Tom Riford.

While there, Plost, Mendez and Riford also met with Gov. Larry Hogan's chief legislative officer, former Washington County state Sen. Christopher B. Shank.

From: Herald-Mail Newspaper