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Catholic Says Jewish Aid to Biafra Will Strengthen Jewish-christian Relations

A Roman Catholic educator and leader of the ecumenical movement today hailed Jewish aid to Biafra as a “history-making event” that will set Christian-Jewish relations “on a new course.” Msgr. John M. Oesterreicher, director of the Institute of Judeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University, referred to the American-Jewish Emergency Effort for Biafran Relief. established last summer by American Jewish leaders, which is channeling its aid to the stricken secessionist province of Nigeria through existing Catholic and Protestant agencies. He said that this “unprecedented effort of the American Jewish community coming to the assistance of starving people, unknown to them, and far away, of people who are not Jewish, is an act of extraordinary unselfishness that ought to be more widely known and applauded.”

Msgr. Oesterreicher spoke to members of friends of the Edith Stein Guild here, a Catholic lay organization named in memory of Edith Stein, a German-Jewish philosopher who became a Carmelite nun who was murdered by the Nazis. He said that the Biafran relief effort, new as it is, was in keeping with the teachings of Judaism. It does away, he said “with the timeworn cliche that Judaism is a legalistic. loveless religion. It should also help to make the coexistence of Christians and Jews a creative one, showing the way for continuous cooperation in making the social message of the Prophets…a reality on this earth.”

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