Rabbi Leon Klenicki, one of the Jewish community’s leading voices for rapprochement with the Catholic Church, died Jan. 25. A resident of Monroe Township, N.J., he was 78.
Rabbi Klenicki, a native of Argentina, served as the Anti-Defamation League’s director of Interfaith Affairs until his retirement eight years ago, and as the ADL’s co-liaison with the Vatican, meeting frequently with Church leaders in Rome, the United States and other countries.
The home page of the University of Colorado Web site reveals a scene of striking beauty: an exquisitely designed red-brick, neo-Gothic building set against the rugged peaks of the Rockies.
But for Jewish students on the Boulder campus, the idyllic scene of the American West belies their experience on the front lines of a new kind of anti-Semitism playing out in recent years at American colleges and universities spurred by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Where's Joe? That's the question some American Jews are asking about Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman as the crisis in Israel sinks to its worst levels in decades. Some are concerned that the Connecticut senator (the first Jew in history to run on a major presidential ticket) has not been more out front in defending Israel in the face of increasing criticism from the United Nations and Arab countries over the violence. More than a hundred Palestinians and eight Jews have been killed since the conflict broke out this month.
Two landmark theological documents were issued last week, one by leading Jewish thinkers and one by the Roman Catholic theologian. Besides timing, they couldn't be more different.
The Jewish statement calls for Jews to re-evaluate their historic negative feelings about Christianity and affirm the shared roots of the two faiths.
The Vatican statement declares the Roman Catholic Church is the only way to salvation, rejecting alternate paths. It advocates missionizing of non-Catholics.
For Jewish interfaith leaders, it's all very troubling.
Last January, dozens of well-heeled New Yorkers gathered at Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria to raise money for the archbishop of New York's last gesture toward the Jewish community he held so dear.
The archbishop's birthday dinner raised $1.5 million for the establishment of the John Cardinal O'Connor Distinguished Chair in Hebrew and Sacred Scripture at St. Joseph's Seminary, the Westchester institution that trains future priests. O'Connor wanted to teach seminarians greater respect for the Jewish roots of Christianity.
With the curtain about to rise on the world's most famous Passion Play, a team of Christian and Jewish scholars is giving it a thumbs down. It's not the acting or pacing the reviewers are concerned about. Rather it's the script for the latest production of the 366-year-old Oberammergau Passion Play, produced and performed by residents of the little Bavarian town.
More specifically the reviewers, brought together by the American Jewish Committee's Department of Interreligious Affairs, panned the English translation of the German text because of its anti-Jewish content.
These are angry times in which we live. The Internet and cable television provide fertile soil for growing rage on the right and the left; both ends of the political spectrum are rife with conspiracy theories singling out scapegoats for national woes, real and imagined. And those who dare criticize the fomenters of rage themselves become targets.
Several Jewish groups don't care much for Switzerland's new crackdown on Islam.
This week Swiss voters approved a referendum banning the construction of minarets. The measure was pushed by the right-wing Swiss Peoples party, and passed by a surprisingly strong 57 percent majority.
Leaders of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) were quick to condemn the vote.
A prominent mock trial competition is a mockery this year, some voices in the Jewish community say.
The Anti-Defamation League, prominent Washington attorney Nathan Lewin and several Jewish newspapers have protested the recent decision by the National High School Mock Trial Championship not to accommodate the Shabbat requirements of a Boston day school that qualified for the 2009 competition, which was held this week in Atlanta.