Report on the Third Annual Meeting

Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations

Report on the Third Annual Meeting

Hosted by the Hayyim Kieval Institute for Jewish-Christian Studies
Siena College, Loudonville, New York, October 24-25, 2004

Sunday, October 24

The meeting began with the Annual Colloquium of the Hayyim Kieval Institute for Jewish-Christian Studies. Invited keynoters Paul Mendes-Flohr and William McConville each spoke on the current state of the Christian-Jewish dialogue (papers to be posted). The Bishop of Albany, Most Rev. Howard Hubbard concluded the colloquium by stressing the importance of Christian-Jewish relations and praising the work of the Kieval Institute.

After dinner, a panel discussion involving the Colloquium speakers and three CCJR members occurred. Charles Arian from the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies in Baltimore, Philip A. Cunningham from the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, and Peter Pettit from the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding at Muhlenberg College in Allentown each commented on the nature of Christian-Jewish dialogue and its current situation, conversing with the keynote speakers and the CCJR membership as well.

Monday, October 27

The day began with the annual "How It Looks From Here" panel. This year the topic was 'What Lessons Can be Drawn from the Passion Controversy?' and featured analyses by:

  • Ruth Langer, Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, Massachusetts
  • Lawrence Frizzell, Institute for Judeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University, New Jersey
  • James Barrens, Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at St. Leo University, Florida

Among various individual insights and contexts, all agreed that the controversy showed how much work remains to be done in promoting understanding of the issues surrounding the Gospel passion narratives and their interpretation.

Business Meeting

Following the panel, the CCJR chair, Peter Pettit, convened the business meeting. The following members were present for at least part of the meeting: Charles Arian (ICJS), Judy Banki (Tanenbaum Center), James Barrens (St. Leo), Donald Clifford (St. Joseph), David Coppola (Sacred Heart), Philip Cunningham (B.C.), Barry Cytron (Jay Phillips Center), Gemma Del Duca (Seton Hill), Audrey Doetzel (B.C.), Joseph Ehrenkranz (Sacred Heart), Lawrence Frizzell (Seton Hall), Ruth Langer (B.C.), Padraic O'Hare (Merrimack), John Pawlikowski (Bernardin Center), Peter Pettit (Muhlenberg), Elena Procario-Foley (Iona), Donna Purdy (Relation & Encounter), Gabriel Rossetti (Sacred Heart), Gilbert Rosenthal (National Council of Synagogues), Lois Sculco (Seton Hill), Kevin Spicer (Stonehill), Racelle Weiman (H.U.C.), and Peter Zaas (Siena), representing 17 of the 25 regular member centers or institutes.

  • The Chair welcomed new members Elena Procario-Foley, the Driscoll Professor in Jewish-Catholic Studies at Iona College and Donna Purdy, new representative for the Sisters of Sion's Christian-Jewish Relation and Encounter. A special welcome was also extended to a distinguished guest, Clemens Thoma, visiting from the Catholic Theological Faculty at Luzern, Switzerland.
  • The agenda for the meeting was unanimously approved.
  • The Chair announced the appointment of a nominating committee that will prepare a slate of candidates for the Board of Directors for the next CCJR annual meeting. The nominating committee is composed of Audrey Doetzel, John Pawlikowski, and Peter Zaas. Members are urged to contact the committee to suggest nominations.
  • The Chair recommended the revision of the By-laws to include centers in Canada in the category of regular members. This seemed reasonable given that Relation and Encounter is now operating from Toronto and with the formation of a new Centre for Catholic-Jewish Learning at King's University College in London, Ontario (which will be voted for membership at the next meeting). As per procedure, this change to the By-laws will be voted upon at the next annual meeting.
  • John Pawlikowski, president of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ), reported on the imminent appointment of a new executive secretary, Dr. Sybille Fritsch-Oppermann.
  • A conversation occurred on the upcoming ICCJ meeting in Chicago, July 24-27, 2005, which CCJR is co-hosting. It was unanimously agreed to hold the next CCJR annual meeting in conjunction with the Chicago ICCJ meeting on Sunday, July 24th. There was also general agreement for CCJR to assist in the ICCJ meeting by means of exhibits, sponsoring a plenary speaker and workshops, and perhaps offering student scholarships. The Board will develop the details.
  • Phil Cunningham proposed with the Board's recommendation that CCJR enter into a partnership with the Boston College Libraries and the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning to publish an electronic, peer-reviewed, open-access journal to be titled Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations. The journal would have two co-editors, one appointed by the CCJR Board and one by the BC Center, and a six person editorial board appointed by the CCJR Board. BC would also supply a managing editor. After discussion of various aspects of the proposal, it was unanimously approved. The first volume will be launched in the fall of 2005, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Nostra Aetate. Notices will be sent through the listserv as the journal site takes shape.
  • Audrey Doetzel proposed that the CCJR explore whether to develop an individual type of membership for individuals and perhaps groups working the field of Christian-Jewish relations who do not have resources or support mechanisms available to them. Diverse aspects of this idea were discussed. It was agreed that the CCJR Board would take up the issue and offer a recommendation at the next annual meeting.
  • The Secretary-Treasurer's financial report for 2003-2004 and proposed budget for 2004-2005 were unanimously approved. Copies are available to members upon request.
  • Topic updates in the field of Christian-Jewish relations:
    • Charles Arian reported on the deluge of submissions to the ICCJ's student essay contest. Winners are to be announced in the coming months.
    • Preliminary plans for various Nostra Aetate anniversary observances were shared.
    • A new biography of Abbot Leo Rudloff, A Benedictine Legacy of Peace by Br. John Hammond was highly recommended by Padraic O'Hare.
    • A discussion of the consideration by some Protestant churches to divest themselves of investments in Israel occurred. Peter Pettit stated that the question will sweep through all the mainline Protestant denominations.
    • Several films were mentioned as very worthwhile: "Sr. Rose's Passion" (about Rose Thering), "Prisoners of Hatred," "Media and the Holocaust," and "Finding Family."
    • Various centers or institutes described upcoming initiatives and sought recommendations and suggestions.

The Fourth Annual CCJR meeting will occur on Sunday, July 24, 2005 at the Weston River North Hotel in Chicago in conjunction with the ICCJ meeting. Further details will be announced.

The membership thanked Peter Zaas, director of the Kieval Institute, for all his work in hosting the meeting.