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Wexler Urges ‘positive Approach’ by Jews to Interfaith Dialogue

March 5, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. William A. Wexler, president of B’nai B’rith, recommended that the Jewish community adopt a “responsive approach” to the “continuing interest” of Pope Paul VI and Catholic liberals in strengthening Catholic-Jewish relations. He told B’nai B’rith’s National Commission on Adult Jewish Education that “mature interreligious dialogue” should be encouraged because the Jewish community is “neither isolated from nor immune to the religious pluralism of its surroundings and the ecumenical atmosphere should be able to sustain even theological dialogues without distorting them into theological debates.” He said his views had been reinforced during his private audience with the Pope last January.

A shortcoming in dialogues is that the process is generally limited to clergy, educators and others on leadership levels “because too many laymen in the adult community are illiterates about their own faith and traditions,” Dr. Wexler declared. He told the commission that its educational purpose is an “inescapable prerequisite” to the dialogue process “since the adult Jew cannot interpret his Judaism for others if he himself is crippled by ignorance of its meaning.”

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