Report on the Eighth Annual Meeting

Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations

Report on the Eighth Annual Meeting

Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida

Sunday, November 1 – Monday, November 2, 2009


Sunday, November 1, 2009

The annual meeting began with a public event moderated by our host Alan Berger. Kevin Madigan of Harvard Divinity School delivered a keynote address, entitled, ""The Vatican and the 'Final Solution': Have Recent Popes 'Owned' Catholic Guilt?" Responses were offered by Alan Brill (Seton Hall University ) and Kevin Spicer (Stonehill College) and a question and answer period followed.


Before dinner, the Council paused to remember interreligious leaders who had died in the past year, especially Rev. Donald Clifford, Rabbi Leon Klenicki, Dr. Franklin Littell, Rabbi Max Shapiro and Rabbi Dr. Michael Signer.


After dinner, the Council was pleased to award its second Shevet Achim Award for Outstanding Contributions to Jewish-Christian Understanding to Judith Hershcopf Banki, who since the 1950s has been tirelessly devoted to building a new relationship between Christians and Jews. At the American Jewish Committee, she was instrumental in making important textbook studies known to the Vatican officials preparing for the Second Vatican Council. Today, at the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, she continues to promote harmony among religious traditions. Testimonials were delivered by Peter Zaas on behalf of A. James Rudin and by John T. Pawlikowski. The name of the award comes from the Hebrew text of Psalm 133:1 —"How good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity/harmony" (Hinei ma tov u’manayim, shevet akhim gam ya-chad ).


This was followed by the annual "View from Here" panel in which representatives from different member organizations offer observations on interfaith relations in their particular situations. This year's topic was "Christian-Jewish Relations in the Gulf States." The panelists were:

  • Alan Berger (Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL)
  • George Gilmore (Mobile Christian-Jewish Dialogue, Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL)
  • Linda Taggart (Saint Leo University, St. Leo, FL)

Monday, November 2, 2009


The morning began with a panel discussion on the "USCCB's 'Note on Ambiguities Contained in Reflections on Covenant and Mission,'" moderated by Ron Simkins (Creighton University, Omaha, NE). The panelists were:

  • Eric Greenburg (Anti-Defamation League)
  • James Massa (US Conference of Catholic Bishops)
  • Elena Procario-Foley (Iona College)

CCJR Business Meeting (Regular Members, Affiliate Members, and Liaison Representatives)


As per Council by-laws a quorum was present. Regular member organizations represented were: Boston College, Catholic Theological Union, Creighton University, Florida Atlantic University, Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute; Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies, Iona College, Sacred Heart University, Saint Joseph's University, Saint Leo University, Seton Hall University, Siena College, Spring Hill College, Stonehill College, Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, University of St. Thomas/St. John's University, and Xavier University. Also present were Liaison Representatives: the Anti-Defamation League and the Secretariat for Ecumenical & Interreligious Affairs, USCCB.

  1. The annual business meeting began with greetings to a new regular member, the Mobile Christian-Jewish Dialogue, Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL.

  2. The chair announced that the next annual meetings will be held in 2010 at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA on October 24-25, 2010, and in 2011 (the CCJR tenth anniversary meeting) at Seton Hall University in East Orange, NJ. Xavier University has also volunteered to host an annual meeting, possibly in 2012.

  3. Kevin Spicer was unanimously reelected to a three year term on the Board of Directors, which expires in 2012.
  4. Three regular member applications and two liaison representative applications for new membership were discussed and voted upon. The Council is therefore delighted to welcome:

    Center for Multifaith Education Auburn Theological Seminary, New York

    Judaic and Catholic Studies Centers Fairfield University, Connecticut

    Manhattan College Holocaust Resource Center, New York

    B'nai B'rith International, New York

    Committee on Church Relations and the Holocaust, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

  5. Philip Cunningham and John Pawlikowski reported on the work of the International Council of Christians and Jews, of which the CCJR is the national member for the United States. The 2009 ICCJ meeting in Berlin was very successful and was marked by the issuance of a major reassessment of the last 60 years of dialogue, entitled: A Time for Recommitment. An online curriculum is being prepared. The 2010 meeting will occur on June 20-23, 2010 in Istanbul, Turkey in order to promote the work of the ICCJ's Abrahamic Forum. In addition, efforts are underway to revitalize the Youth Leadership Forum. CCJR members will receive information about this in the future. Finally, although there is a need to diversify its sources of income, the ICCJ is in sound financial shape, having overcome completely the difficulties of a few years ago.

  6. Kevin Spicer, co-editor of the Council's journal, Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations reported that several new articles have just been uploaded into Volume 4 (2009). He distributed a call for papers for 2010 with the theme: "Boundaries and Border Crossings." He also announced that Eugene Fisher is now serving as the Christian book review editor.

  7. Philip Cunningham, secretary-treasurer, reported that the Council's website is developing apace, and apologized for the slowness in uploading especially Protestant documents onto Dialogika. The rapid series of events in C-J relations over the past year have diverted a significant amount of web management time. He then offered the Treasurer's Report and proposed budget for 2009-2010. The report is available separately from Phil, but the balance of the Council's account as of 11/2/09 was $16,323.38. The proposed budget was approved unanimously.

  8. In the interests of time, Elena Procario-Foley offered an abbreviated Chair's Report, commenting on the achievements of the Council during the previous year and reporting on the semi-annual Board meeting that occurred in April 2009. She emphasized that the Board stands ready to help with the needs, concerns, and ideas of all members. Suggestions for future meeting topics and locations are always welcome. On behalf of the entire Council, she thanked our hosts at FAU, Alan Berger and Bonnie Lander for all their help and hospitality.

  9. New Business: a discussion occurred if the Board should pursue further its July 1st letter to James Massa and Thomas Weinandy about the " Note on Ambiguities Contained in Reflections on Covenant and Mission." After several options were expressed and discussed, it was agreed that the Board would deliberate on how to proceed in the near future.


    The meeting adjourned at 12 noon.