MANHATTAN —A rabbi and a priest walked into a basketball court.
They bonded over their sons' Downtown pick-up games and now have made a holy match: the newly-formed Tamid: The Downtown Synagogue and the historic Trinity Wall Street church will share the iconic St Paul's Chapel.
The basketball connection opened the door for Tamid to hold services in the famed 18th century Downtown church, which has become a symbol of Sept. 11 recovery and home to Trinity Wall Street. Tamid will start holding weekly Shabbat and High Holy Day in the fall, aimed at a contemporary, progressive Jewish community that embraces diverse backgrounds of faith and sexual orientation, synagogue officials said.
"Tamid will be a 21st century urban synagogue built upon the three pillars of Judaism: prayer, learning, and service to others," said Rabbi Darren Levine, a 39-year-old Battery Park resident of six years. "Tamid has been a dream of mine - to have a house of prayer, progressive in spirit, for the Jewish community."
For two years Levine and Rev. Mark Bozzuti-Jones had been watching their sons shoot hoops at a local court, each oblivious to the other's occupation. One day, when he was scouring the internet for a meeting location for the new synagogue, Levine was surprised to find Buzzuti-Jones' pictured in full priestly garb on Trinity's website.
"We are both basketball dads," Levine said. "I had no idea he was a priest and he had no idea I was a rabbi."
The Rev. James Cooper, rector of Trinity Wall Street, an Episcopal church, said in a statement the church "gladly" offered its building located on Broadway and Fulton Street.
"In doing so, we continued a parish tradition of providing hospitality and a welcome to all," he said, noting that Trinity has been a leader in gathering the interfaith community of Downtown neighborhoods.
The institutions are already talking about possible collaborations.
"We are already talking about a downtown interfaith Seder for next year," said Levine, who has been a rabbi in the city for 10 years, most recently at Temple Shaaray Tefila on the Upper East Side.
"What better way then to meet then around a shared experience from the two traditions," Levine said.
The synagogue will be open to Jews, converts, those in the interfaith community and any who are simply curious, Levine said. Tamid will also have an online "Shabbat Spot" offering insights on the weekly Toah reading — both in interactive blog and video blog formats, Levine said.
Those wanting to get involved throughout the summer can attend a mixture of lunches, information sessions and occasional Shabbat services that are listed on the synagogue's website.