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JCCV promotes Jewish Christian Relations

JCCV promotes Jewish Christian Relations

25 October 2010

John Searle, President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, hosted an excellent interfaith evening at his home on October 21st with local and Belgium, Christian guests who are heavily involved in Jewish-Christian relations.

The evening evolved into a fascinating discussion of the lives of Jews and Christians here and in Europe and the issues faced by our respective communities. Frans and Renee van den Brande, on holiday from Antwerp, Belgium, were accompanied by 2 Sisters of Sion, Patricia Watson and Mary Lotten. They represented the perspective of Christian leaders working alongside leaders of the Jewish faith involved in Jewish-Christian relations.

The conversation ranged from the relationships of Jews and the broader community in Antwerp, Europe and Australia; the Flemish Hassidic community; the recent movement of the diamond trade to India causing major job losses, particularly for Antwerp Jews; the positive change in Rome’s attitude towards Jewish people; the need to address the ignorance that causes antisemitism and the relationship between events in the Middle East and antisemitism.

Why was this an excellent evening? John Searle explained, “It is heartening to hear people of other faiths espousing the rights of Israel to exist, the misrepresentation of Israel in the world-wide media and the ignorance that causes much anti-Semitism that could, and should, be ameliorated from the pulpit”.

Searle stated that “The reason JCCV engages in interfaith work is to build bridges between faiths through understanding, respect and trust. The outcomes of such relationships can only be positive, enabling active discourse between communities to resolve issues in order to live and work together harmoniously”.

The Sisters of Sion have a wonderful philosophy that focuses on a respect for other beliefs and cultures. In light of this, they established a Centre for Jewish Christian relations in Kew in 1970 and work diligently to dispel antisemitism. Around the world they lecture on the Jewish roots of Christianity to seminaries and congregations, take people on trips to Israel to explore Jewish-Christian heritage and actively work with Rome to create positive Jewish-Christian documentation and policy.

Frans and his wife are very active in all aspects of inter faith work. They conduct tours through the Hassidic neighborhoods of Antwerp (including a meal at the now famous kosher restaurant); they counteract the prevailing European trend of anti-Israel sentiment and alongside the Antwerp Sisters of Sion, conduct tours to Israel starting in the north and working their way down through sites of significance.

Searle has offered full support to the Sisters’ work in Melbourne and the groups will work together in partnership.

John Searle, President

22 October 2010

For more information contact Jo Silver at the JCCV on 03 9272 5566


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