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Rabbis Address Catholic Nuns on the Spanish Inquisition Period

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Sixty Catholics, most of them nuns from Catholic seminaries in Westchester County, a suburb of New York City, heard two rabbis yesterday discussing the persecutions suffered by Spanish Jewry during the Inquisition in the 15th Century, and the situation of Jews in Germany during the years preceding World War II and the rise of Nazism and the Hitler regime.

The reports were given in conclusion of a three-day conference on "The Making and Identity of the American Jew," held at the College of New Rochelle, a Catholic institution. The conference was sponsored by seven Catholic institutions and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith which described the parley as "the first of its kind in the United States.

Rabbi Arthur Gilbert, the ADL’s director of curricular research, recalled the persecution of Jews by the Inquisition in Spain. Rabbi Bertram Korn, of Congregation Keneseth Israel, Philadelphia, lectured about pre-Nazi Germany’s Jews and about Jewish immigration into the United States generally. Further historical details on the fate of Spanish Jewry were added by Dr. Joseph F. O’Callaghan of Fordham University.

Sister Mary Robert Falls, president of the College of New Rochelle, said after the conference that she has "regrets" over the persecution of Spanish Jewry by the Inquisition "but it’s not a matter of guilt. That’s the one thing we have to get away from. You and I are not responsible for what happened in 1467. We are responsible for what happens in 1967 and 2067."

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