Religious Freedom analysed – then celebrated

December 18, 2015 by J-Wire Staff
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Muslims, Jews and Christians representing their peak national organisations spent an evening last week considering different approaches to the concept of religious freedom – then together lit candles, sang Chanukah songs and feasted on latkes and donuts.

Celebrating Chanukah

Celebrating Chanukah

Meeting in the Emanuel Synagogue, in the 43rd session since 2002, the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims & Jews discussed religious, social, cultural and political perspectives on the subject.
 
The delegates from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the National Council of Churches in Australia and the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils were led by Jeremy Jones AM, Sister Elizabeth Delaney and Sheikh Amin Hady respectively.
 
The lead presentation was delivered by Peter Wertheim for the ECAJ, followed by shorter presentations from three NCCA representatives and two Muslim scholars.
 
Four of the twelve people who were at the National Dialogue took part in the 43rd meeting – Jeremy Jones and Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins from the ECAJ, Sister Patricia Madigan from the NCCA and Sheikh Hady. A fifth participant, Peta Pellach, now lives in Jerusalem but was visiting Sydney and came to part of the meeting.
 
The Jewish participants were Jeremy Jones AM (Chair), Rabbi David Freedman, Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins, Ian Lacey AM, Josie Lacey OAM, Nicole Mekler, Julie Nathan, Rabbi Jacqui Ninio and Peter Wertheim AM.
 
“The Dialogue was intentionally scheduled to take place on Human Rights Day and Chanukah, with the topic chosen as it was particularly appropriate”, Jeremy Jones, who is the Director of International and of Community Affairs of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, said.
 
“The experience was one where there was abundant food for thought supplemented by traditional Chanukah treats, and where the warmth and light of the candles in the Menorah was a reflection of the warmth of the welcome by Rabbis Kamins and Ninio and the enlightening papers and discussion”, he added.
 
The Jewish and Muslim delegations  dedicated their meeting to the Season of Twinning, an international event bringing Muslims and Jews together in mosques, synagogues and other settings.

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