On the 25th September the Council of Christians and Jews celebrates its 20th anniversary with an Oration to be given by Rabbi Raymond Apple at Glen Eira Town Hall. Rabbi Apple will also launch the 2005 Anniversary Edition of the CCJ journal ?Gesher”.
The theme of the oration is “”The Truth Will Set You Free: The Future of The Dialogue.”
The Council officially began in February 1985 with an inaugural meeting at Temple Beth Israel St Kilda. The leading personalities behind this interfaith initiative were Rabbi Ron Lubovsky, Professor Rev Robert Anderson, Rabbi John Levi and the Sisters of Sion in Kew. Since the mid 60s interfaith activities occurred on an ad hoc basis, stimulated by the 1965 Second Vatican Council Declaration Nostra Aetate which saw the most significant change in Christian-Jewish relationships for 2,000 years.
For 20 years the CCJ has produced various publications, organised lectures and special events and provided educational tools to encourage dialogue and mutual respect between Jews, Christians and other faiths. Recently the CCJ executive has participated in a planning workshop looking to the future. The challenge to fight rising antisemitism, religious bigotry and hate is greater now than in the 20 year history of the CCJ.
Over the years the CCJ has been building bridges between the various faiths with dialogue, educational seminars, publications and encounters. This building of trust within the CCJ has allowed for the discussion of sensitive issues and a greater awareness within the heads of faiths of all the major religions in Australia.
The CCJ seeks to create greater harmony within the community and to provide a platform for dialogue, tolerance and acceptance of contrasting faiths. In looking to the future the CCJ will be involving younger members and developing more programs within schools and university campuses. ?Only through education can a greater understanding be developed” said Bill Clancy AM, the current chairman of the CCJ. ?With the rise of antisemitism prejudice and intolerance around the world, the work of the CCJ is more essential than ever. We have to dispel the myths and promote truth. We seek greater participation for our work from all community members with an interest in social harmony and understanding.”
For individuals and organisations seeking to support the work of the CCJ an opportunity is available to sponsor and advertise in the 20th anniversary edition of the CCJ flagship publication Gesher. This 2005 edition will be larger than ever and is distributed to hundreds of congregations, schools, businesses and individuals. 5000 copies are sent out each year and this year?s will see a greater sophistication in design and content. For further details contact the CCJ office on 03 9817 3848 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, contact the oration chairman Walter Rappaport at email@example.com. Advertising needs to be finalised by 20th July.
Dr Philip Bliss is the CCJ publicity chairman and honorary secretary