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Jewish Responses to the Challenges of Multicultural Contemporaneity. Free Ebrei Volume 2
Jews in Dialogue discusses Jewish post-Holocaust involvement in interreligious and intercultural dialogue in Israel, Europe, and the United States. The essays within offer a multiplicity of approaches and perspectives (historical, sociological, theological, etc.) on how Jews have collaborated and cooperated with non-Jews to respond to the challenges of multicultural contemporaneity. The volume’s first part is about the concept of dialogue itself and its potential for effecting change; the second part documents examples of successful interreligious cooperation. The volume includes an appendix designed to provide context for the material presented in the first part, especially with regard to relations between the State of Israel and the Catholic Church.
In: Jews in Dialogue

Abstract

In this deeply personal essay, Leora Tec, the daughter of Holocaust survivor and Holocaust scholar Nechama Tec from Lublin, Poland, examines the causes of past and present divides among many in the Polish Jewish community, both Jews and non-Jews. She shows how factors such as: silence (both personal and institutional or governmental); ignorance; an overemphasis on Polish rescue; a competition of victimhood; and an overemphasis on the separation between Jews and non-Jews before the war, have all deepened this chasm. And she demonstrates—using her own experience encountering the memory work done by those at Brama Grodzka-NN Theatre Centre as an example—how these divides can be bridged by collective, artistic, and individual remembrance. This remembrance holds space for what is absent or incomplete, while valuing the “fragments” of history. Most of all, she shows how forging human connection in the present, continues the work of remembering the past with reverence, and has enabled her to find a connection to Poland. Ultimately, she concludes that the human beings building the bridges are themselves the bridge.

In: Jews in Dialogue

Abstract

This article investigates how French antiracism and its main organizations redefined their identities and developed new strategies to confront racism after the liberation of France in 1944 up until the early 1950s. The purpose is to understand to what extent the antiracist movement and its main organizations (MNCR, LICA, MRAP and the umbrella organization Alliance Antiraciste) left room for the specific interests of Jews and other groups, and to look at arguments for intercultural solidarity. The article shows how already in the immediate postwar period the antiracist movement, with a strong representation of Jews, became increasingly concerned with colonial issues and discrimination against people from the colonies, which was expressed through various acts of solidarity. There are, however, only a few indications that people from the colonies were directly involved in such activities despite attempts to establish activities in North Africa for this purpose. Although the memory of the Holocaust, as well as the opposition towards antisemitism, was strong within the antiracist movement, these organizations had a shifting and ambivalent attitude towards particular Jewish concerns and the general tendency was to emphasize the universal character of antiracism in discourses intended for a broader audience.

In: Jews in Dialogue

Abstract

Upon the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, there existed a sizable Muslim and Christian minority whose rights to citizenship were enshrined in the democratic aspirations contained in the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Since then the State of Israel has been challenged by balancing democratic values and Jewish Law. The article seeks to determine how Jewish law relates to the non-Jewish “Other” for the expressed purpose of discovering an alternative model with historically based halakhic precedent. A review of traditional texts will show a trend in Jewish Law (Halakhah) that mandates equality as a religious imperative. Enlightenment and Jewish emancipation strengthened this trend which encouraged halakhic deciders to search for ways that a new paradigm can exist in how Judaism views the Gentile. They influenced the early official Rabbinate of the Land and State of Israel who set a precedent of using ancient terminology to affirm the validity of non-Jewish participation in Israeli society. The study’s conclusions seek to help the Jewish religion depart from being a force conducive to discrimination and instead embrace a mandate conducive for equality and constructive interreligious dialogue with all the different sectors that are part of the State of Israel.

In: Jews in Dialogue
In: Jews in Dialogue

Abstract

This article seeks to understand how the term ger toshav or the “resident Other” can be revived in modern times to guide Jewish religious law as it relates to the non-Jewish citizen in the modern State of Israel. For this to happen, a journey through the halakhic (Jewish legal) understanding of the Other must be undertaken from the Bible up until modern times. The biblical understanding of the Other through the term ger bifurcates in Rabbinic times to the ger tzedek (convert) and the ger toshav (resident Other). Rabbinic Judaism goes out of its way to show that the ger toshav is no longer relevant since the Jubilee year is not in practice in the Land of Israel. This study will show that although this is the prevalent opinion of Maimonides, there was a dissenting opinion held by his contemporary, the Raavad, Rabbi Abraham ben David. It was this opinion which was recognized and codified by modern halakhic deciders and then implemented on a very restricted basis. Is there a way to widen the application of the term ger toshav for a more accepting religious viewpoint towards the non-Jew? This article affirms this to be the case.

In: Jews in Dialogue

Abstract

Why to interview Rav Haim Fabrizio Cipriani? Twenty years ago, if pressed to answer this question, most scholars would likely have spoken in the sweeping language of the Vatican II (1962-1965) and its Nostra Aetate declaration, language evoking the cultivation of Jewish-Catholic dialogue by charting the courses of collective interreligious history. Today, while it remains crucial to continue fostering Jewish-Christian dialogue, it is possible to do so by following the narrower paths of individual (rather than shared) experience. The following interview addresses Jewish-Christian dialogue through the lens of Cipriani’s last commentary to the siddur, asking how this work’s many insights into prayer, charity, and the study of Torah, can teach us new things about interfaith fellowship.

In: Jews in Dialogue
In: Jews in Dialogue
In: Jews in Dialogue