Cardinal Ricard (top right) learns Tractate Berachot with Cardinal Erdo (bottom left) and rabbinical student Sorin Rosen.
RicardErdoLearning.jpgIsrael Singer opens with a dedication to R’ Avi Weiss, founder of Chovevei, saying in part “I know of no other Jewish leader who gave of his life for civil rights” and so forth.
In general, as the Catholic delegation arrived, the casual dress of the Chovevei students seemed a starker difference than it perhaps usually is. Wait — one student showed up late with a suit and tie.
In attendance is, per usual with Jewish meetings, Cardinal Jean Marie Lustiger, the new Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, and the Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo, in addition to various bishops, priests, etc.
Perhaps predictably, Weiss in his speech announces that the yeshiva will be singing a Carlebach song as a welcome. “Because of our family and friends,” it begins. “This is the house, the house of the Lord,” it continues. Never heard it. Oh, then it’s in Hebrew: “L’maan achai v’reyai” — got it.
Weiss continues: “We remeber the soul of Ilan Halimi, and reach out to you and ask your help in confronting anti-Semitism. The Bible tells us that there was darkness everywhere; indeed, God’s first words in the Bible are ‘yehi or,’ — ‘let there be light’ — and the light pushed away all the darkness. We live in a world of too much darkness, too much violence, too much war, too much war perpetrated in the name of God…may we always seek peace in the world, and peace in Jerusalem…”
“…We at our yeshiva are committed to confirming the shared divine image of all people, and are affirming our responsibility to improve the world and our capacity to be enriched by it. I have a dream, it’s a deep-seated dream, it emerges from the deepest part of my soul; I have a dream of Jew, Christian, and all Muslim people being able to live in peace…”
“…As Catholic and Jewish communities have made significant strides in understanding each other, and we have made significant strides, I offer a prayer that similar progress be made with our Muslim brothers.”
R’ Dov Linzer provides a history of Jewish textual development. “Today with the students you’ll be learning a passage from the Tractate Berachot, to learn where the practice of three daily prayers came from.”
So, when the Catholic delegation visits Chovevei, they’re actively taught Talmud. Compare that with previous comments from Yeshiva University’s R’ Hershel Schachter.
Cardinals, bishops, rabbinical students and others hold hands and sway while singing at the conclusion of today’s dialogue.
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