The Anglican Jewish Commission met in Manchester, England, March 26-28, departing from its normal pattern of meeting in Lambeth Palace or Jerusalem.
The commission conducts dialogue on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
“There is a strong Jewish population here [in Manchester] and there is a vibrant Anglican diocese,” said the Most Rev. Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin and Anglican co-chairman of the commission. “We’ve had the opportunity to meet with local Jewish people, local Anglicans, and also with young people from the Jewish tradition, the Christian tradition, and the Islamic tradition who work together; so as well as our own discussion, we have also had the opportunity to hear about what is happening in this community.”
The young people are members of the Forum for the Discussion of Israel and Palestine.
“These students shared their experiences of partaking in innovative educational programs that had equipped them with the language and tools to engage in fruitful conversations over contentious matters related to the Holy Land, as well as to address issues raised about the Holy Land in their own local communities,” commission members said in their communiqué.
Archbishop Jackson said the commission “draws together people who are very conscious of conflict, and yet seek to transcend it through sharing ideas of mutual respect, sharing ideas of the shared identity under God, while at the same time having different traditions and wanting to converse with an openness and curiosity.”
Rabbi David Rosen, interfaith adviser to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, said the commission was established to promote deeper understanding between the leaders of the two communities.
It also works “to build up friendships, to be able to address challenges today that face our communities equally, and to see ways in which we can offer a message in society, in science, and in the major challenges of our contemporary world for the benefit of humanity at large.”
The Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, offered reflections on the divisions in his city. He called for “increased efforts for peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land,” the communiqué said.
Rabbi Eliezer Weisz gave a presentation on the meeting’s theme, “Remembering the Past, Committing to the Future,” expounded on the concept of memory in the Jewish tradition. He said “its purpose is to internalize and express the ethical messages born out of the people’s collective experience.”
He spoke of the “six types of memory mentioned in the Pentateuch, which are summarized in the daily prayer book after the morning service,” the communiqué said. “He added to these the memory of Jerusalem and the Temple after their destruction, central to having guaranteed the future renewal of Jewish life in the people’s ancestral homeland.”
The Anglican-Jewish Commission is due to meet in Jerusalem next year. Members expressed their “hope of holding sessions” at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem, at the invitation of Archbishop Dawani.
Adapted from ACNS