Holocaust remembrance more crucial than ever, say Jewish-Catholic relations scholars. An annual commemoration of the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people has become more crucial than ever amid a rise in antisemitism and Russia's war on Ukraine, says scholars of Jewish-Christian relations, including the Institute's directors.
A ‘genuine friend of the Jewish people’: Jewish-Catholic dialogue leaders remember Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict XVI is remembered for his lifelong role in deepening Jewish-Catholic relations, bringing to life the dialogue called for by the Second Vatican Council, according to many leaders within the Jewish community who spoke with OSV News in recent days, including the Institute's directors.
"A National Reckoning of the Soul: A Call to the Churches of the United States to Confront the Crisis of Antisemitism" was issued on December 14th by the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR), of which SJU's Institute for Catholic-Jewish Relations is a founding member. The CCJR is a network of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim scholars at centers and institutes around the United States and Canada that are devoted to the study of the history of Jewish-Christian relations and to promoting interreligious understanding and dialogue.
Alarmed by a level of antisemitic rhetoric and violence not seen since the Second World War, the statement calls upon churches in the United States to intensify condemnations of antisemitism as "antithetical to the very essence of Christianity itself."
It also urges Christian leaders to encourage their congregations to reflect upon the profound religious significance for Christian faith of Jesus' identity as a Jew, a timely exercise as Christmas approaches. A deeper understanding of Christianity's intimate relationship with Jews and Judaism, the CCJR states, will help Christians to reject sacrilegious claims put forth in social media that Christians should hate Jews.
The full text of the statement can be accessed HERE.
Of related interest:
- Kathryn Post of Religion News Service has written an article that draws upon the CCJR statement: "This Advent, churches urged to assess worship for inadvertent antisemitism."
- Gina Christian of Catholic News Service: "Churches called to 'national reckoning of soul' amid antisemitism crisis."
- From America, the national Jesuit publication: "Cardinal Gregory says Catholics should be 'outraged' by rising antisemitism."
- The U.S. Catholic Bishops for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs recently released "A Recommitment to Relationship with the Jewish Community."
- Jewish holidays a chance for Catholics to reflect on shared values, says professor, CatholicPhilly.com: Rosh Hashanah “is more celebratory, praising God as king of creation and hoping that the new year of 5873 on the Jewish calendar will be as sweet as honey,” said Philip Cunningham, co-director of SJU’s Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations (IJCR) along with fellow SJU faculty member Adam Gregerman.
Rabbi Abraham Skorka receives honorary doctorate from Saint Joseph's University: At its recent Commencement ceremonies, Saint Joseph’s University bestowed the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa on Rabbi Abraham Skorka, PhD.
Video series shows how to present Passion, without blaming Jews, CatholicPhilly.com: Philip Cunningham and Adam Gregerman, directors of the IJCR and faculty members of the theology and religious studies department, filmed a video on presenting Jesus’ passion without collectively blaming all Jews for Christ’s death.
Russian strike damages Holocaust site, prompting calls to remember victims, CatholicPhilly.com: Philip Cunningham and Adam Gregerman, directors of the IJCR and faculty members of the theology and religious studies department, called to preserve the memory of Shoah (Holocaust) victims after a Russian military strike on the capital of Ukraine damaged the site of Babyn Yar.
- Whoopi Goldberg suspension shows complexity of Jewish identity, racism, says scholar, CatholicPhilly.com: Philip Cunningham, co-director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations (IJCR), talked about the controversy over Goldberg's statements on ABC's 'The View'.
- Remembering Holocaust ‘a moral act with present purpose,’ say local experts, CatholicPhilly.com: As the world commemorates the victims of Nazi genocide, local scholars say recalling history’s horrors “needs to be more than cognition.”
- Yom Kippur Prompts All to Examine Conscience, Love Neighbor, Says Local Catholic Scholar, CatholicPhilly.com: Judaism’s Day of Atonement is a reminder to all that humanity has a collective responsibility for each other.
- Why Pope Francis’ Comments on the Torah were Hurtful to his Jewish Friends, America: The Jesuit Review: This past August, Pope Francis made a statement that some have characterized as causing the greatest tension in the relationship between the church and the Jewish people since the beginning of his pontificate.
- Jewish Holidays have Themes Familiar to Christians, Say Local Scholars, CatholicPhilly.com: Christians can find many familiar elements in the Jewish high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, said two local scholars.
- Israeli Rabbis Ask Pope to Clarify Remarks on Jewish Law, REUTERS: Israel’s top Jewish religious authorities have told the Vatican they are concerned about comments that Pope Francis made about their books of sacred law and have asked for a clarification.
- Dr Philip A. Cunningham has been appointed ICCJ Honorary President, ICCJ.org: During the 2021 Annual General Meeting of ICCJ's member organizations, held virtually on June 27, the outgoing ICCJ President Bo Sandahl announced the appointment of Phil Cunningham as ICCJ Honorary President.
- President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference and Chairman for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Condemn Recent Rise in Antisemitic Incidents, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB): With a recent rise in the incidents across the country that have been antisemitic in nature, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop David P. Talley of Memphis and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs issued a call for prayers and unity in fostering a culture that rejects all forms of hatred.
- Words, Weapons and the Ways of Peace, Published in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano: On April 15, a particularly important meeting organized by the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations took place in Geneva. It gathered representatives of international and religious institutions, together with high-ranking Vatican dignitaries, to study the implications of the latest encyclical by Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti.
- “Refuse to Turn Away” from Terrors of Genocide, Say Local Scholars, CatholicPhilly.com: Holocaust Remembrance Day is a call to “refuse to turn our eyes away from (the) terrors” of genocide, said scholars from the Institute of Jewish-Catholic Relations (IJCR) at Saint Joseph’s University.
- Passover and Easter: Freedom and Responsibility, Published in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano: The great lesson of the biblical account of the liberation and exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt centers on the concept of freedom. There is a biblical verse that clearly defines it.
- Passover Invites Christians to Recognize Their Jewish Roots, CatholicPhilly.com: Passover invites Christians to recognize Jesus’ Jewishness, and their own “close kinship with Jesus’ Jewish brothers and sisters.” That’s according to professors Philip Cunningham and Adam Gregerman, who co-direct the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at Saint Joseph’s University.
- Antisemitism: The ‘Oldest Hatred’ Persists and Resurges Still Today, The Leaven: Across the centuries, the Jewish people have been viewed as the “other.” They have been blamed as scapegoats for Jesus’ crucifixion, the Black Death, war and struggling economies.
- How to Counter Antisemitism, The Leaven: Philip Cunningham, Ph.D., professor of theology and director of the Institute for Jewish- Catholic Relations at Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, suggests that individuals should be aware of personally held stereotypes and use of language deemed harmless but laden with antisemitism — for example, the phrase “Jewing people down.”
- Eight Years after the Election of Pope Francis, Published in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano: March 13 marks the eighth anniversary of the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the 266th pope of the Catholic Church. Since then he has traveled a long and winding path with many challenges along the way.
- Jews, Christians Can Learn from their Shared Scriptures, Say Scholars, CatholicPhilly.com: Jews and Christians can learn from each other’s shared Scriptures, say two renowned academics — and such dialogue can help to move a divisive society “from polemic to possibility.”
- Remembrance, Education Needed to Prevent Genocide, Says Local Scholar, CatholicPhilly.com: Decades after millions of European Jews were systematically persecuted and murdered, “constant education” is needed to prevent the genocide of marginalized groups, said a local scholar.
- Jewish Reflections as Christians Celebrate the Nativity, published in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano: Among the concepts in the Bible that are central to the faiths of both Israel and Christianity are redemption (geulah) and salvation (yeshuah). While often the two terms are casually used interchangeably, there are certain distinctions worth noting in the Jewish tradition.
- Institute Directors Interviewed for the Encyclopedia of Jewish-Christian Relations, Institute directors Dr. Philip A. Cunningham and Dr. Adam Gregerman were interviewed by the project leaders of the new Encyclopedia of Jewish-Christian Relations.
- Vatican’s WWII Archives Reveal Complex Picture, ‘Flawed Characters,’ Says Expert, CatholicPhilly.com: Recently unsealed Vatican archives on World War II and Pope Pius XII will ultimately provide “a very complex picture with a lot of flawed characters on all sides,” according to an acclaimed researcher.