23rd Meeting of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee

International Jewish-Catholic LiasionWarsaw, Poland, a city and land where “some of the most abhorrent events in world history” took place, where almost 3.5 million Jews who had lived side-by-side with Polish Catholics for over 800 years were nearly totally annihilated by the Nazis in the 20th century, along with three million Catholics and others — 1/10 of the total Polish population. Today, a tenuous, problematic, fragile rebirth is underway after a Polish pope wrought an irreversible new brotherhood between the two religions. This country, with its burden of tragedy and seeds of hope was appropriately chosen to host the 23rd bi-annual meeting of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee.

The ILC, created in 1971, is composed of representatives of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, and the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) that includes delegates of the major organizations of world Jewry.

Click here to read more about this meeting.

I addressed the attendees of the 23rd bi-annual meeting of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee (ILC) in Warsaw, Poland. The following is the edited text of my speech.

Judaism represents a unique combination of universalism and particularism. The balancing of these two tendencies provides a creative tension between the concept that all humans are created in the image of God, and the attitudes and obligations that flow from it, and the belief in the special nature of the Jewish people, often… Continue reading

The United Monarchy: Rereading the Bible and the Archaeological Evidence

Khirbet QeiyafaThis lecture was presented at the Center for Jewish History’s  event entitled “In the Valley of David and Goliath: Digging Up Evidence on the United Monarchy,” sponsored by Yeshiva University Museum, American Friends of the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU.

My task this evening, in light of the momentous discoveries discussed by Prof. Garfinkel and the extremely significant inscription in biblical Hebrew discussed by Professor Holtz, is to try to reevaluate the historical questions surrounding the period of the United Monarchy–the period of Saul, David and Solomon–as this period is presented in the biblical account. Recent years have seen a tremendous amount of controversy about the historicity of the accounts in Samuel and Kings and even a dispute as to whether the period actually existed. In many academic circles, previous to the excavation of Khirbet Qeiyafa and its publication, scholars denied the entire notion of a centralized Jewish polity in the late 11th-early 9th centuries BCE. Khirbet Qeiyafa as well as some of the discoveries in ancient Jerusalem have shown that this view should be rejected. The House of David inscription seems to have convinced many skeptics that Saul, David and… Continue reading

Does God Need Your Mitzvot?

Interview with Rabbi Manis Friedman on the unchangeable essence of God and whether our actions can affect Him.