Religion in the Public Square – Uniting Church/ECAJ 

May 23, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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In the shadow of the 2022 Federal Election, delegations from the Uniting Church in Australia and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, met last week to discuss the role of religion and religious organisations in civil society and in pubic debate.

This was the 53rd time the National Dialogue has met, since it was founded more than 30 years ago by ECAJ President Leslie Caplan z’l and Rev. D’arcy Wood, as an attempt to build a relationship based on real understanding and trust, as against the Church and the Jewish community only coming together in times of crisis.

Rev. Dr Tara Curlewis, a former Co-Chair of the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims & Jews, was the key organiser of the meeting in her capacity of the leader of the UCA Delegation. Jeremy Jones, former President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and currently Director of International and of Community Affairs for the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, led the ECAJ delegation.

The meeting opened with presentations on the upcoming festivals of Shavuot and Pentecost, with Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio of the Emanuel Synagogue making the lead presentation from the Jewish community and Robyn Whitaker presenting for the UCA. 

All members of the ECAJ delegation contributed to the discussion on religion in public life, with wide ranging opinions and contributions to an informative, animated discussion. The Jewish participants, in addition to Jeremy Jones, were Rabbis David Freedman and Jacqueline Ninio,  Melinda Jones of NCJWA, and Julie Nathan and Peter Wertheim.

“Having participated in more than fifty of the Dialogues with the Uniting Church, I can say without fear of contradiction, that each of our Dialogues have been extremely worthwhile and that a respectful, trusting relationship has been developed”, Jeremy Jones said.

“We are all aware of the challenges facing our individual faith communities and benefit greatly from hearing about the experience of others”, he concluded.

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