An Institute for Jewish-christian Relations Established by Ajcongress
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An Institute for Jewish-christian Relations Established by Ajcongress

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The establishment of an Institute for Jewish-Christian Relations to promote brooder interaction between Jewish and Christian scholars and clergymen on theological issues, an outgrowth of earlier efforts by the American Jewish Congress in that field, was announced today by Henry Sieg-man, AJCongress executive director.

Siegman also announced that the Institute’s director is Dr. Michael Wyschogrod, professor and chairman of the philosophy department at Baruch College of the City University of New York. The new Institute will be affiliated with the AJCongress.

Siegman said the Institute’s principal function will be to promote dialogues between Christians and Jews on theological, rather than on political, social and ethical issues. He added such dialogues will be encouraged between Jews and Protestants and between Jews and Catholics.

Siegman said the Institute’s first activity is co-sponsorship of what he called an unprecedented meeting in Lucerne, Switzerland, on January 16–18 of leading Jewish and Roman Catholic theologians and scholars on the historic and organic ties between Judaism and Christianity. The conference is entitled “The Authority and Interpretation of Scripture in Judaism and Christianity.”

The other co-sponsor is the Institute for Jewish-Christian Research of the Theological Faculty of the Lucerne, a Roman Catholic institution, in cooperation with the Vatican Secretariat for Religious Relations with the Jews.


The Institute is an outgrowth of an earlier AJCongress project, “The Rainbow Group, “which periodically has brought together academic and theological specialists to discuss theological issues of mutual concern. The Institute will be located at the Stephen Wise Congress House in upper Manhattan, the AJCongress headquarters.

Participants in the Lucerne conference include Rabbi J. David Bleich, Tenzer Professor of Jewish Law and Ethics at the Catdozo Law School of Yeshiva University; Edward Synan, Professor of Philosophy at Toronto University and the Pontifical Institute of Toronto; Maurice Gilbert, Rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome; and Nahum Sama, Golding Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University.

Asserting that the Lucerne conclave “constltutesa significant new development in the relations of the Catholic church with the Jewish people, “Siegman declared that the dialogue “represents an implementation of the Second Vatican Declaration ‘Nostra aetate which states that since the ‘spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is so great, the Vatican desires to foster mutual understanding and respect that comes from biblical and theological studies.”

Wyscbogrod is a former senior consultant on inter-religious affairs to the Synagogue Council of America, chairman of the Rainbow Group, and is a member of the Committee on Christian-Jewish Relations of the National Council of Churches.

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