|May 5, 2005||
Press Contact: Josh Schonwald|
Jews, Protestants find way to talk over Israel-Palestine conflict
After more than three years and a dozen meetings, a small group of Jewish and mainline Protestant leaders meeting at the University of Chicago Divinity School have created a document they hope can serve as a model for interfaith communication across the country. The document – entitled “What We’ve Learned from Each Other: A Report on a Jewish-Protestant Conversation about the Israel-Palestinian Conflict” – includes a statement of shared principles, as well as guidelines for how American Jews and Protestants can respectfully discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The document comes at time of great consequence.
“It’s no secret that there is a serious situation that pertains today between Jews and Protestants,” said Rabbi Yehiel Poupko, the Judaic scholar at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and one of the signatories on the new document. “Jews and Protestants were once partners in a whole series of social justice issues, but there are now great strains in the relationship revolving around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
At the same time, as Israeli and Palestinian officials are meeting to plan Israel’s pullout from the Gaza Strip, this is a historic moment of hope.
“This document reflects the sustained and heartfelt engagement of people of good will from the Protestant and Jewish communities,” said Richard Rosengarten, Dean of the Divinity School at the University of Chicago and convener of the group. “The conversation they seek to promote is particularly timely. I hope the resulting document will have a long and lively public life.”
The signers of the “Report on a Jewish-Protestant Conversation” are: the Rev. John Buchanan of Fourth Presbyterian Church; John Colman, the past President of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; Michael Kotzin, the Executive Vice President of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; Cynthia Lindner, the Director of Ministry Studies and Senior Lecturer in the University of Chicago Divinity School; Martin Marty, the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Modern Christianity in the University of Chicago Divinity School; Rabbi Yehiel Poupko of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; and Benjamin D. Sommer, the Director of the Crown Family Center for Jewish Studies at Northwestern University.
“We have talked and engaged in at times difficult conversation and dialogue, and we will continue to do so,” they write. “We urge you who find yourselves in the leadership of churches and synagogues to do much the same and to reach out to one another and begin similar conversations.”
Last modified at 11:04 AM CST on Thursday, May 05, 2005.
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