A busy fortnight in Interfaith

November 3, 2013 by  
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Jeremy Jones the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council’s Director of International and of Community Affairs, has participated in four significant interfaith events over the last fortnight.

Jeremy Jones, Rabbi Richard Marker (New York) and Cardinal Koch

Jeremy Jones, Rabbi Richard Marker (New York) and Cardinal Koch

Beginning in Madrid, Spain, Jones took part in the International Leadership Council dialogue, in which representatives of the Vatican and World Jewry convene every two years to discuss matters of concern and areas for cooperation. Jeremy Jones is the only Australian to have been invited to participate as a representative of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, and this was the second ILC meeting he has attended. The Jewish and Catholic delegates participated in plenary sessions and working  groups, with Jones a member of the Working Group on Join Action to combat antisemitism.

In the Ukraine, Jones attended a major international conference in Kiev marking the 100th Anniversary of the Blood Libel trial of Mendel Beilis (popularised in fiction by Bernard Malamud). The theme of the conference was the past, present and possible future of antisemitism, with representatives of more than forty countries, including many politicians, academics and community leaders, from Europe, North America, Israel, Turkey and Australia. Sydney Academic Darren O’Brien presented on the Blood Libel in history, while Jeremy Jones contributed to the closing plenary, at Ukraine’s Parliament House, on how interfaith dialogues contribute to combating antisemitism.

 Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio, Rabbi David Slovin, Jeremy Jones, Sheikh Amin Hady and his wife, OBK

Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio, [2nd left], Sheikh Amin Hady Jeremy Jones and Rabb Dovid Slavin at OBK

 Returning to Australia, Jeremy Jones led the Jewish delegation at the National Dialogue of the Uniting Church in Australia with the ECAJ, in Melbourne. Jeremy Jones made a presentation on “The Significance of Exodus to the Jewish people” and led discussion on “Responding to Antisemitism”. At the Dialogue Rabbi John Levi led the session on “G-d in the Constitution”, with other contributions throughout the day by Michel Leloum, Cantor at Temple Beth Israel, and Sharyn Mittleman, AIJAC Policy Analyst.

The last of the interfaith events combined dialogue of minds with dialogue of action, as he joined with members of The Emanuel Synagogue, led by Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio, and from Zetland Mosque, led by Sheikh Amin Hady, cooking food together for Sydney’s needy. The session, at Our Big Kitchen in Bondi, was the first official Sydney event for the International “Weekend of Twinning” of Synagogues and Mosques, coordinated by the New York-based Federation for Ethnic Understanding. The meals prepared during the interaction of members of the two communities was designated to help bushfire victims and the homeless, with strudels also prepared for residents of domestic violence shelters.


Jones told J-Wire: “While it is not a simple matter to try to evaluate outcomes of these type of events, I can report that the ILC meeting produced an outstanding declaration and joint plan of action, the Kiev Conference connected hundreds of committed activists and people of influence with each other and with new ideas, the Dialogue with the UCA added momentum to the important work of mutual understanding and a deepening sense of fraternity while the Twinning Event promoted good food, friendships and the basis for further cooperation for the common good”.



One Response to “A busy fortnight in Interfaith”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    Once again there’s mixed messages coming from Pope Francis by of’times contradicting Cardinal Koch by what he says according to the nitty gritty of the Catholic faith, causing confusion among the faithful.
    Oh well, someone will eventually work it out I suppose, but I note there’s no mention of him here and he is the boss.

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