NEW YORK (Sep. 14)
Adding a third title to his list of leadership positions in the worldwide Jewish community, Seymour Reich has been named the chairman of the Jewish group designated to carry on dialogue with the Vatican.
Reich is also currently the president of B’nai B’rith International as well as the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
In his newest role as leader of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, Reich said his first priority is to convince the Jewish agencies who have formed an IJCIC alternative to “come back” to the group.
The American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the American Jewish Congress announced on Wednesday that they were forming their own “cooperative effort to further understanding and communication between the Jewish community and international Christian bodies,” including the Vatican.
AJCommittee pulled out of IJCIC just last week.
Reich said AJCommittee “erred in leaving, and I hope to bring them back under the IJCIC umbrella.
“It doesn’t serve the Jewish world to give the perception of disunity,” he said.
But Ira Silverman, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, said that at least in the near future, he could not envision “any possibility” of AJCommittee returning to IJCIC.
However, he said that if eventually “there were changes made in IJCIC under which we could all come together, I would be interested in any possibility.”
An IJCIC delegation had been scheduled to travel to the Vatican this month to discuss the Auschwitz convent controversy.
Reich said the group would now “proceed slowly” in coordinating such a visit, and that he would “be in touch with the Vatican” to discuss the plans for the trip.
The former chairman of IJCIC, Rabbi A. James Rudin, who is now leading the alternative group, is scheduled to go to Rome on Sunday for talks with the Vatican.
Reich said that the Vatican is aware that Rudin is going on this visit “wearing a different hat.”