One of the best things to happen for Jewish-Christian relations in the Kansas City area in recent years has been the effort the Jewish Community Relations Bureau/American Jewish Committee has put into this area under Rabbi Alan L. Cohen, its director of interreligious affairs.
Alan has arranged several seminars for clergy on this topic, and they've been extraordinarily helpful at least in pointing out to religious leaders how to approach this sensitive area.
The most recent example occurred earlier this week when two experts in Christian-Jewish dialogue spoke to clergy gathered at Rockhurst University. They were Dr. Michael Trice (pictured on the left here), associate executive ecumenical and interreligious relations director for the Evangleical Lutheran Church in America, and Rabbi Gary Greenebaum (pictured on the right), U.S. director of interreligious and intergroup relations for the American Jewish Committee.
Each spoke in several different segments throughout the morning and led those attending in small discussion groups. But I want to give you an audio clip of the opening remarks of each one. Although Trice and Greenebaum differed on some matters, they have become friends who have learned how to respect each other's faith commitments and each other's take on the issues that sometimes divide them.
First Greenebaum (click on this link):
Now Trice (again, click on this link):
In Greenebaum's remarks, please note especially his eloquent lament that Jews often existed at the mercy of the church, but there never was much mercy. And his surprise at how brutally Christians also have treated other Christians across history.
In Trice's talk, take special note of his conclusion that Hitler could not have succeeded as much as he did in wiping out much of European Jewry in the Holocaust without the skids having been greased by century after century of anti-Judaism in Christian history. (For my own essay on this very subject, see my essay on this by looking under the "Check this out" headline on the right side of this page.)
Jewish-Christian relations have many implications for how we exist in the world and for various conflicts in the world. It's vital that we improve them and build relationships of trust and respect. That's what Trice and Greenebaum are trying to do.
(I would be remiss by not pointing out here that my new book at least indirectly touches on this. They Were Just People: Stories of Rescue in Poland During the Holocaust, co-written with Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn, describes examples of Jews saved from the German death machinery by non-Jews, mostly Catholics.)
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THE PRICEY WORD OF GOD
Someone just paid more than $15,000 for a Bible on eBay. Wonder if any of the royalties will go in some way to the Author.
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P.S.: For your holiday giving, don't be shy about buying my new book, They Were Just People: Stories of Rescue in Poland During the Holocaust, co-written with Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn. To read about it and find several ways of ordering it, click here. And remember, all the royalties go to Holocaust-related charities, so feel good about buying lots of copies.