Christian & Jewish
?Think of those who were victims
Addressing last month's Commemoration of the Night of Broken Glass (Kristallnacht) in the shadows of Sydney's St. Andrew's Anglican Cathedral, the Bishop of South Sydney, Bishop Robert Forsyth poignantly recalled the pogrom of violence against Jews, synagogues and Jewish buildings that broke out in Germany and Austria on November 9, 1938 . “”Today, even 65 years on, Kristallnacht still echoes with the chill memory of the beginning, of the horrors that were soon to engulf the peoples and especially the Jewish peoples of Europe””, he said. He went on to point out that Kristallnacht was the beginning, in a very real way, of the horrors of the Holocaust which were to follow. “”Therefore it stands not just for what happened on that night, which has been overshadowed tragically by other violence against peoples, but because it stands as a symbol of such terrible violence.
A remembering that must never cease
Bishop Forsyth went on to point out that today's society is not only dealing with such individuals.
Too many as onlookers
“”Today we stand for freedom of religion. Including the freedom to have no religion or to change religion or seek to persuade others to a point of view. We stand for the recognition of human dignity and the rights of true God, the maker of the heaven and the earth, we have received the precious gift of our humanity and stand accountable before him. “”Today we stand for freedom of religion. We stand for the recognition of human dignity and the rights of each human being, made in the image of God. “”Today we pause to remember and reaffirm our commitments. To stand against the evil of Anti-Semitism and all its fellow travellers.””
An Open Letter to Uniting Church Congregations
Cardinal Cassidy and Rabbi Levi: Dialogue is progressing
|November 17 2003
Writing to the Uniting Church constituency throughout Australia, its President, Rev. Dr Dean Drayton reported that the Church has established a three-step process that will allow the breadth of the church to be heard on the matter of people in committed, same-gender relationships being in leadership positions.
He went on to say that at its November meeting, the Assembly Standing Committee (the group elected to oversee the work of the Assembly between meetings) has once again heard of the cost and division this matter has caused for many – but not all – within the church. “”As a body the Assembly Standing Committee (ASC) carefully and prayerfully considered the pastoral responses needed to take our church forward. “”We believe we have developed a genuine road map to the next Assembly, so that people are able to take part in the process of discerning the doctrine of the church with regard to people in committed, same-gender relationships being in leadership positions.
“”While the polity of the Church has always meant that a Presbytery might ordain such a person, the ASC has heard the voice of the church indicating that it wants this matter to be addressed by the Assembly itself. “”We have set up a three-step process that will allow the breadth of the church to be heard on this matter and, through our presbyteries and Synods, prepare for decisions on this issue for the 2006 Assembly, if it sees fit.
The process is: 1. Refer Assembly minute 03.12.03 as varied by ASC minute 03.69 (proposal 84) to congregations and presbyteries for their responses by 30 April 2004; 2. Establish a year-long period of Biblical and theological study where members and councils of the church can seek to discern God's will on these matters; 3. Prepare a full report on the above steps, by September 2005 to resource Synods and presbyteries in preparation for the 11th Assembly. “”The request for responses from Councils and Congregations will come under separate cover early in the new year. “”We feel it is very important for our whole church to engage in this matter at a doctrinal level, as the basis of working towards a final resolution at a future Assembly. Tasks groups and working groups, representing the breadth of the church, have been established to ensure this open process can take place””, the letter adds.
In an address presented to the recent launch ceremony of the of CCJ?s Gesher Magazine for 2003, Archbishop Denis Hart (illust. below) paid tribute to the outgoing editor, Gad Ben-Meir who, Bishop
Hart said ?has worked hard towards another successful issue. ?His generosity and skill over many years are deeply appreciated and I
congratulate him on behalf of us all”, the Bishop said. He went on to say he read many articles on the encounter of Jacob and Esau, our relationship with Islam as the third great monotheistic
religion and the positive contribution which these articles made to our common search for a humanity seeking to understand the riches and wonder of God and to live and work in his presence. ?I must
confess to not a little envy of Dr. John Levi and Professor Robert Anderson, admired in Judaism and Christianity respectively. It did illustrate to me that our own association is a great enrichment
and an exploration of a world in which human beings are made as the crown of creation called endless life. ?It was with similar interest in this last issue that I noted the focus on our common
heritage in Abraham and his descendants to bring the name of God to the nations. During his visit to Israel in March 2001 Pope John Paul II promised to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the
people of the Covenant.”
This is an edited version of Archbishop Hart's address. The full text is available from: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: (03) 9817 3848
At a unique function at Sydney?s Jewish Museum late November 3003, Idris Edward, Cardinal Cassidy and Melbourne?s Rabbi John Levi AM undertook the onerous task of debating the vital question as to whether Interfaith Dialogue in Australia is making progress or is regressing. The capacity audience heard the two clerics come to the positive conclusion that while there are still considerable problems to surmount and tasks to be achieved, on the whole the ledger looks positive. The ?conversation” was moderated by the ABC?s Stephen Crittenden, the host of Radio National?s ?Religion Report” and was recorded for rebroadcast on the ABC?s national radio network and on its world wide website. In addition, Crittenden reported that the program is also taken up by a large list of member stations of the American Public Broadcasting system as well as the CBC in Canada. The broadcaster attempted to draw out Rabbi Levi on a number of contentious issues as but true to form, Melbourne?s Rabbi Emeritus held his ground and put his case forcefully for greater understanding on the part of a section of the Christian churches for the need to foster acceptance of the commonalities and respect for the differences between the faiths. Cardinal Cassidy was generous in his praise for his colleagues in the Vatican during his presidency of its Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. He pointed out that relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people have improved significantly in the last half-century and added that the education of future clergy and lay leaders in both communities is crucial if coming generations are to sustain and further this progress. In particular, the curricula of Catholic seminaries and schools of theology should continue to reflect the central importance of the church's new understanding of its relationship to Jews. pictured below: Melbourne?s Rabbi John Levi, the ABC?s Stephen Crittenden and His Eminence, Cardinal Cassidy during the recent ?conversation” between the two clerics at Sydney?s Jewish Museum, the joint host of the function with the NSW Council of Christians & Jews.
Spirited vote of thanks from retired High Court Judge, Marcus Einfeld
In moving a vote of thanks at the recent Sydney ?conversation” between Melbourne?s Rabbi John Levi AM and retired President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Cardinal Edward Cassidy, prominent lawyer and human rights proponent, Marcus Einfeld QC said that the concepts of interfaith dialogue should not be confined merely to the religious arena. The retired High Court judge said he believed that many of the world?s inequities, whether they were religious, cultural, social or political needed greater understanding on the part of society and government if such inequities were to be forcefully addressed. In moving his vote of thanks to the participants of the ?conversation” Judge Einfeld also paid tribute to the Sydney Jewish Museum and the NSW Council of Christians and Jews.
Nothing beats being there
Aura Levin Lipski, Publisher Jewish Australia Online Network – The internet home of Jewish Australia dot com http://www.jewishaustralia.com
Welcome the next issue
Chaim Ben Levi, Maroubra, NSW
The editor welcomes letters on any subject relative to the interests of Jewish Christian dialogue. Please address these to ?Scene” email@example.com
Lecture in Honour of the Late
In Sydney last month, an unprecedented phenomenon saw the light of day in the form of the visit by Mrs. Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian politician recipient of a prize in the name of
Peace awarded by the University of Sydney. The award in itself and indeed the entire visit was convoluted by an extraordinary shrill of voice and inept of execution campaign firstly to have the prize
withdrawn, then to have the Premier of New South Wales, the Hon. Bob Carr withdraw his participation in the Award ceremony and indeed to decry the entire visit as a negation of validity.
The Victorian Council of Christians and Jews honoured the memory of its staunch supporter, the late Rabbi Ronald Lubofky by dedicating the Piet Van Boxel address on ?Censorship and Conversion” in his name. The concept of the title deals with how Jews were forced to read the Bible with Christian eyes, a topic on which Dr. Van Boxel has done a considerable amount of research. As Librarian of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, he is a renowned expert on Church censorship of rabbinic literature in sixteenth century Italy. Prior to his current role, he lectured for fourteen years at the University of Utrecht in Holland on rabbinic literature and the Jewish context of the New Testament.
Let the lesson of the Ashrawi visit be well digested. The more comment, the more protest, the more attention is thus given to what, in the end is merely a work of filmed fiction. On
the other hand, the less comment, the less will be the controversy. The Australian Council of Christians and Jews recommends in the strongest possible terms that the film be allowed to come (and go)
without comment. The more it comes with no comment, the quicker it will fade into the filmic archives.
Cardinal Walter Kasper at Raheen
A special luncheon to celebrate the visit by Cardinal Walter Kasper to Australia took place earlier this year at Raheen in suburban Melbourne. Hosted by Richard Pratt AC and Jeanne Pratt AC in association with the Victorian Council of Christians and Jews and the Marist Brothers, the luncheon was MCd by well know n entertainment celebrity, Tony Barber.
The gathering brought together people from all walks of life, with representation from business, academia, church and synagogue. The generosity of Mr.& Mrs. Pratt in hosting the function in their gracious home was augmented by a song from the host and a recital from a young Melbourne pianist. Cardinal Kasper spoke briefly about some of the issues ahead for Jewish- Christian dialogue and the possible pathways for further engagement with one another, as well as ways in which the two faiths can seek to contribute to the direction of Australian society. Widely respected for his work in Christian ecumenical relations, Kasper was chosen in 1979 as one of a dozen Catholic theologians to sit on the World Council of Churches' Faith and Order Commissionsion, one of the most comprehensive theological forums in Christianity. In 1994 he was named co-chairman of the Lutheran-Catholic Commission of Unity and five years later was appointed secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
in Rome. On May 3, 2001, Pope John Paul II named Kasper as its president, succeeding the retiring Cardinal Edward Cassidy. As president of the council, Kasper is also the president for the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. Under the leadership of Cardinal Kasper the Council for Promoting Christian Unity has as its primary function guiding and serving the ecumenical activities of the Catholic Church and is also responsible for Catholic – Jewish relations. Among its numerous activities have been international theological dialogues with the Lutheran World Federation, the Anglican Communion, the World Methodist Council, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Pentecostals, the Disciples of Christ, evangelicals, the Orthodox churches, the Baptist World Alliance, and various Jewish organizations, including the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultation.
FINALLY: The Pentagon ?investigates” the recent inflammatory religious rhetoric of General William Boykin, America?s Deputy Under Secretary of Defence for Intelligence…
The International Counil of
After weeks of outrage expressed by The Interfaith Alliance, other religious organizations and now two Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee over the new Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence General Boykin?s inflammatory religious rhetoric, the Associated Press reports, ?The Pentagon will investigate a general's church speeches casting the war on terrorism in religious terms, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said recently.” ?The Pentagon has a responsibility to investigate the history of the outrageous statements made by General Boykin,” said Rev. Welton Gaddy, president of The Interfaith Alliance. ?We do not question the General?s experience that led him to his new position within the US government. What we do question is the General?s cultural and religious sensitivity in order to represent the United States with dignity and international respect. Our concerns are that he will not be able to extend that respect to those under his command as well as those in the international community. These remarks have already been quoted in the international press and affirmed the mistaken perception that America is participating in a holy war.” Gaddy continued, ?The Pentagon?s involvement is a good first step. I just wish the General?s lack of respect for religious diversity had been exposed before the US Senate confirmed General Boykin this June.”
Founded in 1994, The Interfaith Alliance (TIA) is a non-partisan, clergy-led grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the positive and healing role of religion in the life of the nation and challenging those who manipulate religion to promote a narrow, divisive agenda. With more than 150,000 members drawn from over 70 faith traditions, 38 local Alliances and a national network of religious leaders, TIA promotes compassion, civility and mutual respect for human dignity in our increasingly diverse society.
The ICCJ member organisations world-wide over the past five decades have been successfully engaged in the historic renewal of Jewish-Christian relations. Founded as a reaction to the Holocaust, the Shoah, in the awareness that ways must be found to examine the deeply engrained roots of mistrust, hatred and fear that culminated in one of the worst evils in human history, theologians, historians and educators included the still fragile structure of enlightenment and the human rights movements of the inter-war period. In more recent years the ICCJ and its members increasingly engaged in the Abrahamic dialogue: the encounter between Jews, Christians and Muslims. The ICCJ's efforts to promote Jewish-Christian dialogue provide models for wider interfaith relations, particularly dialogue among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Through its conferences and other consultations the ICCJ offers a platform where people of different religious backgrounds examine current issues across national and religious boundaries, enabling face-to-face exchanges of experience and expertise.