New guidelines for inter-faith dialogue

July 30, 2010 by Geoffrey Zygier
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Newly-published Guidelines for conducting interfaith dialogue will greatly benefit the Jewish and larger communities.

John Searle

Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) president John Searle said: “Many Jewish organisations, the JCCV included, participate in interfaith dialogue. The JCCV applauds this involvement, believing that such activity is good for both our community and for larger Victorian society.  However there is a proviso, namely that those taking part are fully prepared, especially for those situations which have the potential to create discord, and that they enter the dialogue with clear and measurable aims.  We are concerned that this has not always been the situation up till now, hence our development of these Guidelines.”

Led by Adam Goodvach, the JCCV undertook intensive consultation with a wide range of affiliate and other Jewish organisations involved in interfaith dialogue.  It also provided drafts for comment to James Merlino MP, Minister Assisting the Premier on Multicultural Affairs, and George Lekakis, Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission.  Both offered valuable input to the final document.

The JCCV Guidelines for Interfaith Dialogue were launched by Minister Merlino on 27 July 2010 before a large audience of Jewish community leaders and those of other faiths, including the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Baha’i and Buddhist among others.

In his address, Mr Merlino expressed his gratitude to the JCCV for having the initiative and foresight to write these guidelines.  According to Mr Merlino, “The Guidelines are a welcome addition to the growing resources available to communities embarking on interfaith activity.  They also fill a gap in the information that is available. They provide high-level guidance around the principles of interfaith dialogue, but they also provide really practical tips for people about how to start the conversation and make it work.”

“Respect for each other’s faith and belief is at the heart of a harmonious society.  That’s why sharing knowledge about how to engage other people from diverse faiths is so important.  The JCCV’s Guidelines for Interfaith Dialogue will be a valuable resource in achieving this goal.  These Guidelines are a demonstration of your organisation’s proactive support for interfaith dialogue and are also a sign of your commitment to a leadership role not only within the Jewish community but more broadly within the Victorian Community” Merlino continued.

Mr Merlino concluded “I’d like to point out that the Jewish community has often led the way in implementing cultural and religious harmony projects that foster understanding and acceptance.  These Guidelines are another example of the JCCV’s leadership and support for interfaith activity. “

Finally John Searle urged audience members to become familiar with the Guidelines.  He assured them that they were in no way prescriptive, but should be viewed as a community resource and living document that would be updated over time.

Read the guidelines here


2 Responses to “New guidelines for inter-faith dialogue”
  1. Edward Gorog says:

    I read this article with great interest and am wondering where I might be able to either obtain a copy of such guidelines or perhaps download a copy?

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