Church of England and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel hold talks in Jerusalem
The ninth meeting of the Anglican-Jewish Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and office of the Archbishop of Canterbury was hosted by the former, at the offices of the American Jewish Committee in Jerusalem between the 20th -22nd March 2018/ 4- 6 th of Nisan 5778.
The Commission’s mandate is taken from the provisions of the joint declaration of the Archbishop and the Chief Rabbis made at Lambeth Palace on 6th September 2006 and confirmed at their subsequent meeting in Jerusalem.
The meeting opened with the reading of a message from the Archbishop of Canterbury, expressing his support and encouragement for the important ongoing relationship that the Commission represents and his appreciation of the joint recommitment to the Commission made with the Chief Rabbis of Israel at their meeting in Jerusalem in May 2017. At the opening session Rabbi David Rosen, the International Director of Inter Religious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, welcomed the members of the Commission to Jerusalem and gave an overview of the work of the AJC globally and specifically in Jerusalem. The Most Revd Suheil Dawani, Archbishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, also shared reflections and offered his support for this important work. The Most Revd Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin, chaired the meeting.
The theme of the Commission’s meeting was ‘minorities and refugees- immigration and integration’ and responses were given by both traditions. Papers were presented by Dr Clare Amos, Dr Jane Clements, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave and the Most Revd Michael Jackson on a Christian theology of hospitality; Biblical perspectives on immigration; a reimagining of the identity of migrants as citizens and pilgrims; and an exploration of the concept of Sanctuary in contemporary Ireland, respectively.
Rabbi Dr Rasson Arousi’s paper and subsequent contributions from the Jewish delegation explored God’s compassion for humanity and the numerous scriptural injunctions to care for the resident alien. He also examined the distinctions between the requirements for the individual to respond to human need and the responsibility of the state to guarantee the cultural and economic integrity, security and stability of society. There was unanimity amongst members of the Commission that all responses to the challenges of immigration and integration must be predicated on the affirmation the sanctity of human life and freedom.
The programme included an opening meal at the Mamilla Hotel for members of the Commission, hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel. It was also attended by Ephraim Mirvis, the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth as well as the Deputy British Ambassador to Israel, Mr Tony Kay OBE.
The Commission discussed various matters of concern including a briefing and discussion about the situation of Christians in the middle east and in particularly in Israel, led by Mrs Sharon Regev of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Archbishop Suheil Dawani was represented at that particular meeting by the Very Revd Hosam Naoum, Dean of St George’s Cathedral.
The participants looked forward to their next meeting in 2019 in London.
The Most Revd Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin & Rabbi Dr Rasson Aroussi
The following are members of the Commission: Delegation of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Rabbi – Dr Rasson Arousi Rabbi Dr David Rosen CBE, KSG Rabbi Prof Abraham Steinberg, Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber Mr Oded Wiener, Director General, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel
Delegation of the Archbishop of Canterbury – The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson The Most Revd Suheil Dawani The Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave OBE Dr Clare Amos Dr Jane Clements The Revd Canon Mark Poulson, Secretary for Inter Religious Affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury Katie Hodkinson, Programmes Coordinator for Inter Religious Affairs at Lambeth Palace