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News from Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies
February 2010
In This Issue
Special Partnership Events
Updates and News Links
Nostra Aetate Resources
2010 Friends of the Center Appeal

Dear CCJS Friends and E-Letter Readers,


Challenges in Catholic-Jewish dialogue continue to make headlines in the international press.  In our February 2010 E-Letter, we provide links that will update you on these important developments.  At the same time, we at CCJS are blessed to report good news regarding interfaith education and dialogue activities underway in our region.  All four of our major constituencies-clergy, congregations, classrooms (teachers and students at all levels), and the community at large-have brought us updates during the past month.  In addition to the special partnership events you will read about at Saint Leo University (see below), several of our CCJS board members sent reports of Catholic-Jewish dialogues in their communities.  January 14th  Naples resident Dr. John Conroy, professor at Blessed Edmund Rice School for Pastoral Ministry of the Venice Diocese, was the featured speaker at the American Jewish Committee West Coast Florida Chapter meeting. Dr. Conroy provided an update on developments related to the "Notes on Ambiguities" issued by the USCCB last summer. CCJS board members, Rabbi Jonathan Katz and Deacon Pat Macaulay of Sarasota, have partnered to present a new session of the acclaimed six-part "Walking God's Paths: Christians and Jews in Candid Conversation"

video-discussion program for their congregations.  Deacon Pat described the program as, "an unqualified success!"  As we noted last summer, let us not lose heart during these challenging times.  Recall the achievements of decades of Catholic-Jewish dialogue, and may we continue to have faith in its future. 

Blessings and Shalom, 


Linda Taggart, Director, CCJS

Adjunct Professor of Theology and Religion

Saint Leo University

As Christians and Jews prepare for the holy days of Easter and Passover, the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, in partnership with the faculty and staff of Saint Leo University and local Catholic and Jewish clergy, announces four special events described below.  Note that the interfaith book discussion, the introduction to dialogue, the synagogue visit, and the Model Seder will provide opportunities for growth in knowledge and respect of Catholic and Jewish religious history and practices.  Please mark your calendars for events in your area and contact our CCJS staff if you have any questions.


"Theology in Rabbinic Stories: Jewish and Christian Perspectives," Thursday, February 4, 2010, 7 p.m., Cannon Memorial Library, Saint Leo University


Ecumenism and Interreligious DialogueSaint Leo University's Cannon Memorial Library, the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, and the Master of Arts in Theology Program have partnered to present a lively interfaith lecture and book discussion featuring guest lecturer, Rabbi Frank Sundheim, and Deacon Dr. William Ditewig, Director of the Graduate Theology Program.  Their discussion will focus on Rabbi Chaim Pearl's popular text, Theology in Rabbinic Stories

(Hendrickson, 1997). Students, faculty, staff and the general public are welcome to attend.  The program is free and will begin promptly at 7 p.m., Thursday, February 4, 2010, in the Cannon Memorial Library Browsing Area overlooking beautiful Lake Jovita.  We will also celebrate a generous donation of the Babylonian Talmud (Neusner, Scholars Press) to the Cannon Memorial Library.  Light refreshments will be served. 


For more information click here.


"Friendship and Faith:

 An Introduction to Catholic-Jewish Dialogue,"
 Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 4:30-5:30 p.m.,
Board Room C, Student Community Center
 Saint Leo University
Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue 

CCJS and University Ministry have partnered with the Philosophy, Theology, and Religion faculty to present an introduction to interfaith dialogue by adjunct professor and CCJS director, Linda Taggart, and Laurin Jacobson, visiting lecturer and Hillel School faculty member.  The program will begin at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 23, 2010, in Board Room C of the Student Community Center on the Saint Leo University Campus.  Linda, Roman Catholic, and Laurin, Jewish, will share their knowledge, friendship, and first-hand experience teaching and living the Catholic-Jewish dialogue.  Their informative and entertaining program will include music, a brief Hebrew lesson, as well as a video segment about Easter and Passover from the acclaimed "Walking God's Paths: Christians and Jews in Candid Conversation."  Linda and Laurin will also share their experience as delegates to the first Vatican conference for Catholic and Jewish educators that was held in Rome in October 2007. 


In addition, this lecture will help prepare Saint Leo students and faculty for a synagogue visit hosted by Rabbi Jason Rosenberg of Tampa's Congregation Beth Am on Wednesday, March 3, 2010. 


For information please contact Jane Bracken: jane.bracken@saintleo.edu.


A Synagogue Visit for Saint Leo University Students and Faculty, Wednesday, March 3, 2010, 2 p.m. at Congregation Beth Am in Tampa

Rabbi David Rosen
Rabbi Jason Rosenberg
of Congregation Beth Am in Tampa has generously agreed to host a synagogue visit for Saint Leo University students and faculty on Wednesday, March 3, 2010, at 2 pm.  CCJS, working with Dr. Randall Woodard, professor of theology and religion at Saint Leo University, arranged this interfaith education session to supplement coursework in REL 123 Foundations in Christian Faith.  This required course includes study of the Hebrew Bible as well as the history of Judaism, the Jewish people, and the Church. The course textbook, "Theological Foundations: Concepts and Methods for Understanding Christian Faith" (St. Mary's Press 2007) is an excellent resource for both student and adult learners.  
Beth Am Tampa Header 
For more information on this partnership program, please contact Dr. Randall Woodard at
randall.woodard@saintleo.edu or Linda Taggart at linda.taggart@saintleo.edu.

Annual Model Seder at Saint Leo University, Wednesday,

March 10, 2010, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.  

in the Board Rooms of the Student Community Center 

Saint Leo University Campus

Seder Haggadah PicThe CCJS and Saint Leo University Campus Ministries will host an interfaith 'Model Seder' to be conducted by CCJS board member Rabbi Gary Klein of Temple Ahavat Shalom in Palm Harbor.  Magda Robles, Assistant Director for University Ministry, has organized this important interfaith education and dialogue event for several years.  The teaching Seder is an exciting and enlightening opportunity for students, faculty, and other members of the community to experience the Passover tradition.  In 2008 this very successful event was attended by more than 50 people.  This year the annual meeting of the CCJS board will be held on campus so that all CCJS board members can join in the Model Seder celebration.  Reservations are required. 
For more information and to reserve a seat, please contact Jane Bracken
jane.bracken@saintleo.edu or  
Magda Robles
Council of Centers on Christian-Jewish Relations (CCJR) annual meeting was featured in the newsletter of the Cardinal Bea Center for Judaic Studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome:
During the annual meeting of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR) in Boca Raton, Florida (Nov 1-2, 2009), we discussed issues in Christian-Jewish relations that need to be addressed over the coming years. A crucial task is to increase mutual knowledge and enhance mutual respect, a task not helped by the fact that Vatican II's Nostra Aetate is largely unknown among the younger generation. When asked to explain what Vatican II was, one student replied: It is the Pope's summer home!  It is necessary to find creative ways to get Christian and Jewish students interested in the other tradition. One Christian professor has given a course entitled "Jesus never read the New Testament." 
For more click here

Pope Benedict XVI visited the Rome Synagogue on January 17, 2010.  Below please find several articles describing preparation for and analysis of this historic event:


A tightrope act? Pope prepares to visit Rome synagogue VATICAN LETTER Jan-8-2010        


By Cindy Wooden

Catholic News Service


Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A cartoon in the January edition of an Italian Jewish newspaper showed Pope Benedict XVI crossing the Tiber River on a tightrope, trying to balance himself using a pole labeled "dialogue" on one end and "conversion" on the other.


As he prepared to cross the river and travel from the Vatican to Rome's main synagogue Jan. 17 no one pretended the journey was going to be easy.


For more click here.



Visiting Rome synagogue, pope honors memory of Holocaust victims



By Cindy Wooden

Catholic News Service


Benedict & Di SegniROME (CNS) -- Laying a wreath at a memorial to Roman Jews rounded up by the Nazis in 1943 and joining in a standing ovation to a dwindling group of Holocaust survivors, Pope Benedict XVI broke the ice with Rome's Jewish community even before he began to speak.


The pope made his first visit to Rome's main synagogue Jan. 17, strongly affirming the Catholic Church's commitment to improving Catholic-Jewish relations, its respect and appreciation for Jewish faith, its condemnation of anti-Semitism and his own hope that Catholics and Jews can work together to bring biblical values back to society.


Pope Benedict began by telling some 1,500 people packed into the synagogue that he came to "confirm and deepen" the dialogue and to demonstrate "the esteem and the affection which the bishop and the church of Rome, as well as the entire Catholic Church, have towards this community and all Jewish communities around the world."


For more click here. 



Two experts insist: Interreligious dialogue lives!



By John L Allen, Jr.

National Catholic Reporter Online


NCR - Recently I devoted both my "All Things Catholic" column and an op/ed piece in The Forward, a national Jewish weekly, to Pope Benedict XVI's Jan. 17 visit to the Great Synagogue in Rome. Among other things, I suggested that the pope's speech that day reflected a broad thrust in his approach to inter-faith relations, away from specifically theological dialogue in favor of social, cultural and political cooperation.


Like usual, those pieces drew a wide variety of responses.


In this case, however, two came from such eminences on inter-faith matters that they're worth passing along. While quite different in focus, both agree that rumors of the death of interreligious dialogue have been greatly exaggerated.


Benedict & RosenRabbi David Rosen is the former Chief Rabbi of Ireland (1979-85) and currently serves as the Director of the American Jewish Committee's Department of Interreligious Affairs. A longtime veteran of Catholic/Jewish relations, he was made a Knight of St. Gregory the Great by the Vatican in 2005 - the first Orthodox rabbi and the first Israeli citizen to receive the honor.


For more click here.


A time to act for Catholic-Jewish reconciliation



By Rabbi Eugene Korn

Korn, RabbiNational Catholic Reporter Online


Editor's note: Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit the Great Synagogue of Rome Jan. 17. It will be only the second such occasion after the groundbreaking visit by Pope John Paul II in 1986. The visit coincides with the Italian Catholic church's celebration each Jan. 17 of a day for Catholic-Jewish dialogue. The visit is being watched especially close after a year of tension relations between Catholics and Jews.


The recent decree by Pope Benedict XVI advancing the sainthood of Pope Pius XII is another serious blow to Catholic-Jewish relations. Pius' record during the Shoah remains a legitimate historical question and is, as well, the subject of a long-time emotional disagreement between some in the Vatican and Jewish leaders.


Consideration of Pius' sainthood would be better served after the complete Vatican archives of the Holocaust period are released and historians can objectively evaluate Pius' efforts to save Europe's Jews from Nazi extermination. Any rush to judgment before the record is clarified will give a larger forum to Pius' critics, undermine Vatican credibility in the eyes of the world and inflict deep pain on Jews whose loved ones were murdered in the Shoah. 


For more click here.

As CCJS prepares for our October 28, 2010 Saint Leo University campus conference, "Nostra Aetate at 45: Remember, Reflect, Renew," we continue recommending reliable and respected resources addressing the history and legacy of Nostra Aetate.

Ecumenism and Interreligious DialogueThe Catholic Church and the Jewish People: Recent Reflections from Rome

Philip Cunningham (Editor), Rev. Norbert J. Hoffman, S.D.B. (Editor), Joseph Sievers (Editor), New York: Fordham University Press, 2007


Editorial Review

"The Catholic Church and the Jewish People is an extraordinarily useful commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the Vatican Council Declaration on the Jews. Outstanding authorities provide historical perspective, an account of the evolution of the document itself, and analyses of its impact on Jewish-Catholic relations both in the immediate aftermath of the Council and in the long term. An invaluable collection for academics, interfaith activists, and all Jews and Christians interested in the historic transformation in their mutual relations inaugurated by Vatican II."


Product Description

This book makes available in English important essays that mark the fortieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate). Surveying Vatican dialogues and documents, the essays explore challenging theological questions posed by the Shoah and the Catholic recognition of the Jewish people's covenantal life with God. Featuring essays by Vatican officials, leading rabbis, diplomats, and Catholic and Jewish scholars, the book discusses the nature of Christian-Jewish relations and the need to remember their conflicted and often tragic history, aspects of a Christian theology of Judaism, the Catholic-Jewish dialogue since the Shoah, and the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. The book includes an essay by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, and documents on the rapprochement between the Church and the Jewish people.


For more click here.

We hope you will consider enrolling as a 2010 Friend of the Center. Your annual contributions make our work possible.Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue
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