Director ’s Greeting - October, 2013

Abraham J. Peck

Dear Friends,

The Jewish community has just completed a three week observance of its religious calendar. During that time we have welcomed in a new year (5744 of the Hebrew Calendar); we have observed a period of deep introspection and individual forgiveness-seeking from those whom we have wronged; a day of fasting and communal repentance and forgiveness-seeking; a seven day harvest festival harkening back to biblical times and we have danced in ecstasy with our Torah scrolls as we celebrated the completion and beginning of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings.

Normally, we have some breathing room until the holiday of Channukah, the festival of rededication and of lights that usually arrives at the end of November or in December.

But each year there is a special time of remembrance between these observances for those Jews whose lives were affected by a terrible event that took place in Germany and Austria on November 9 and 10, 1938. It was a national pogrom, a Nazi government inspired attack against its German and Austrian Jewish citizens and their religious and commercial institutions. It was, in the view of some historians, the actual beginning of the Holocaust- an event that ultimately took six million Jewish lives including one and a half million children.

This year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of that event called by the Nazis the "Night of Broken Glass." It marked the end of German-Jewish life and the beginning of the darkest period in Jewish history.

As Catholics and Jews continue on their nearly five decades long reconciliation and partnership towards a new and positive future, we often forget to look back to a different time and a different relationship. We must look back to a time when Jews asked their Christian brothers and sisters to save them from the jaws of death and destruction. In some cases, they found those who would speak out against the atrocities and offer them shelter and a hiding place. In most cases, they did not.

On November 12, 2014, the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Saint Leo University will remember November 9 and 10, 1938 and learn about those German Roman Catholic clergy who followed the dictates of their religious teachings and those who did not. We will also have an opportunity to listen to the testimony of those who were the victims of the Night of Broken Glass and who have never forgotten the terror and suffering of that night and day.

We ask you to join us in remembering the Roman Catholic martyrs, the "brown priests," and the Jewish victims of November 9 and 10, 1938. CLICK HERE for more information.

Warmly, Abe


Jews of Tampa

Because the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Saint Leo University works closely with Tampa's Jewish community we are pleased to include an essay by Marcia Jo Zerivitz, the Founding Executive Director of the Jewish Museum of Florida. She has played an extraordinary role in bringing the history of Florida's Jewish community into the public spotlight and now, as a resident of the Greater Tampa Bay Jewish community, has co-authored a volume on the history of Tampa's Jewish community through photos and words.

CLICK HERE to read the essay Jews of Tampa

CLICK HERE for a publishing release on Images of America - Jews of Tampa


The Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Studies

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Those who bemoan the fact that there are no longer any “giants” in the American rabbinate have apparently not met Rabbi Mark I. Weiner. He is a towering figure in the area of Christian-Jewish and Muslim-Jewish relations not only in a four decades long rabbinic career in the United States but in his twelve year leadership of the largest liberal synagogue in England and in Europe.

Now relocated back to the United States and residing in Florida, Rabbi Weiner had not lost a step. He has just created the Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Studies of St. Thomas University in Miami. The Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Saint Leo University is proud to have played an advisory role in helping Rabbi Weiner create his center. We look forward to a long and positive partnership in bringing interreligious dialogue and action to both Florida coasts.

CLICK HERE for more on the Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Studies of St. Thomas University in Miami