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Jewish and Lutheran Groups Agree to Establish an International Liaison Committee

A proposal to establish a standing international liaison committee between Jews and Lutherans was agreed upon at the conclusion yesterday of the first joint meeting held under the auspices of the Lutheran World Federation and the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC).

The 24 participants from nine countries at the two-day gathering here agreed to hold a second consultation in 1983 when the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s birthday will be celebrated. The program for continuing consultation will include the publication of an analysis of anti-Jewish references in Lutheran textbooks and worship material.

The participants expressed their deep concern at the resurgence of anti-Semitism in many parts of the world and underscored the need for undertaking effective action against all expressions of anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice.

NOTE CONSTRUCTIVE ROLE OF CHRISTIANS, JEWS

The theme of the consultation was “The Concept of the Human Being in the Lutheran and Jewish Traditions.” Rabbi Bernard Mandelbaum of the Synagogue Council of America and Dr. Ekkehard Stegemann of Heidelberg gave papers on the understanding of the human being in Jewish and Lutheran traditions; and Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum of the American Jewish Committee and Prof. George Forell of Iowa spoke on the ethical consequences of these theological positions.

Acknowledgement was made of the constructive role played by Christian and Jewish leadership in upholding human dignity through major world refugee relief programs, combatting hunger and poverty and defending human rights in many parts of the world. The participants pledged to enlarge their support in these vital areas which translate into reality the shared Biblical values affirming the sacredness of the life of every human being.

REVIEW OF ANTI-SEMITIC DEVELOPMENTS

A review of recent anti-Semitic developments was given by Dr. Gerhart Riegner, Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress. He warned that while recent anti-Semitic incidents are due to small groups using violence and terrorist methods, they represent a serious danger in the context of a restless society characterized by increasing unemployment and growing economic problems.

The participants expressed concern over the continuing turmoil in the Middle East. The Lutheran and Jewish representatives affirmed their support of the right to existence of the State of Israel and agreed to seek to find opportunities to advance dialogue leading to reconciliation, mutual respect and peace among Jews, Christians and Moslems in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The IJCIC comprises the World Jewish Congress, Synagogue Council of America, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the Jewish Council in Israel for Interreligious Consultations.

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