Shevet Achim Award Honorees

Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations


Shevet Achim award -thumbSince 2008, the Council has presented its Shevet Achim Award to persons who have made Outstanding Contributions to Jewish-Christian Understanding.

The title comes from the Hebrew text of Psalm 133:1 —

הִנֵּה מַה-טּוֹב וּמַה-נָּעִים שֶׁבֶת אַחִים גַּם יָחַד 

Hinei ma tov u’manayim shevet achim gam ya-chad

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity!

The award graphic is used with the permission of the Catholic-Jewish Conference of Milwaukee. It was designed by Florence Bern, who was inspired by the words “we must build bridges between our faiths." The design includes the two most ancient symbols in Judaism and Christianity: the seven-branched candelabrum called the menorah, and the fish (the Greek word for fish, ICHTHYS, is an acrostic for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”) The arch between the menorah and the fish not only evokes the image of a bridge between us, but recalls the sign of the rainbow given to Noah after the flood as a sign of God’s covenant and promises to all human kind.

The menorah’s three branches from which the fish emerges evoke the Jewish tradition and teaching of the prophets that the world rests upon three things: justice, righteousness and deeds of loving kindness. The four flames represent the bringing of God's light throughout the world. For Christians, it also indicates that Christianity emerged from Judaism, but has neither exhausted the depths of Judaism nor superseded it. The artist explained that “the circle is not completed between Judaism and Christianity because there is yet work to be done to bring about the peace and justice of God’s rule to all the world.”