When the small Jewish Peace Lobby released a petition signed by 300 liberal rabbis calling for Israel to share Jerusalem in a peace settlement, the response could have been: So what?
What’s news about a group of Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis advocating a view many experts privately say is inevitable? Not to mention that 800 other non-Orthodox rabbis refused to sign the document.
World Jewry is facing an interfaith crisis with Christians and Muslims over the anti-Jewish tirade spouted by Bashar Assad in the presence of Pope John Paul II, who failed to repudiate the Syrian president.
Anxious and irate Jewish leaders this week called for an unprecedented interfaith summit and dashed off letters imploring the Pope to renounce the stunning remarks by Assad. Experts say Assad has elevated anti-Jewish religious charges to dangerous levels.
There are two major personnel changes in the world of Jewish-Christian dialogue, even as meetings between representatives of the two religions continue.
On the Catholic side, Pope John Paul II has appointed German Cardinal Walter Kasper to head the Vatican’s Commission on Relations with the Jews – the Roman Catholic Church’s primary representative on Jewish issues.
The Islamist rhetoric blaming Jews for the Sept. 11 attacks on America has gotten bad enough that President George W. Bush and other national and international political leaders need to counter the anti-Semites and quell the growing anxiety of Jewish citizens, says the national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
“President Bush should publicly put his arms around the Jewish community,” Abraham Foxman said. “Some leaders don’t think it’s serious, but as Jews we take it very seriously.”
Dallas — Ambassador Eliahu Ben-Elissar had heard enough. Israel’s top representative to the United States was squirming in his seat at the Reform movement’s national convention as he listened to noted Jewish historian Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg refer to Israel’s chief rabbis as “bigots with computers” — referring to a confidential computer list they maintain of children of illegitimate unions known as “mamzerim.”
A new dustup has hit IJCIC, the Jewish coalition group that claims to represent the world Jewish community to the Vatican. One key member, the Anti-Defamation League, has quit, even as the umbrella group officially known as the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations tries to resurrect itself in the face of sharp criticism and years of ineffectiveness.
ADL interfaith director Rabbi Leon Klenicki said the IJCIC is no longer relevant.
Last March, the group was declared dead by the Vatican’s chief interfaith official.
Prominent black leaders and activists had mixed reactions this week to a new survey by the Anti-Defamation League in which African Americans were four times more likely than whites to harbor attitudes the ADL termed “most anti-Semitic.”
Baltimore — What do an expert on Buddhism, a Christian theologian and a former Reagan administration bureaucrat have to say about Jewish spirituality to a room full of Conservative rabbis? That was the question here this week when all three addressed several hundred rabbis and guests at the 99th annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly, the organization representing the world’s 1,500 Conservative rabbis.
Like the biblical prophets Samuel and Nathan, who admonished their kings for sinning, the spiritual head of the Conservative movement found himself a lone Jewish voice in the nation this week following his daring call for President Clinton to resign.
Ismar Schorsch, chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, last week thus became the first national Jewish religious figure to urge Clinton to quit because of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He said the president’s moral authority has been “destroyed” and in effect cannot be recovered.
Will Jews be condemned to hell under President George W. Bush?
The question of what the Texas governor and front-running Republican presidential candidate believes about where Jewish souls will wind up in the afterlife is a concern for political pundit Michael Kinsley, editor of Slate, the on-line magazine.