Tradescantia Zebrina .:. The Wandering Jew

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tales and opinions of the wandering Jew

Jews and Catholics

Friday night was “Catholic Shabbat”, an inter-faith shabbat that we at Kolot Rabbim planned with the Newman Centre. We had 41 people smooshed into the living room shul, including an Anglican canon law professor, an awaiting ordination Orthodox rabbi, the Jewish and Catholic students, a reporter, a representative from the National Committee for Jewish Campus Life, and a Catholic pastor. We didn’t do our regular service, since we wanted the non-Jews to be able to follow along and even participate; we had a lot of English in the service, made explanations both before and during the service, and offered transliteration for some of the songs and prayers. (We also held up signs that said “amen – אמן” and “barukh atah adonai – ברוך אתה אדני” each time those words appeared in the prayers/songs so they could join in.)

After the service, which ended with one of the Catholic students saying a prayer, we had dinner. The Catholics said grace, then we said the kiddush (wine), washed out hands, and said the hamotzi (bread). And we all ate. Everyone was mingling, asking for clarification on what they saw in the service, or asking about comparisons to Catholicism. Excellent.

Then, instead of a dvar torah, the pastor from the Newman Centre gave a talk. Only he was having a really hard time getting his words out, and his eyes were tearing up. He talked about how Catholics have wronged the Jews for so long, and how it’s inexcusable. He said that official Catholic doctrine states that in order to fully follow Catholicism properly, Catholics must understand Judaism. (This was related to Catholicism’s belief that a covenant with G-d lasts forever; and since G-d made covenants with the Jews, they must acknowledged and appreciated.) He then talked of the “hopes” he has for the future, comparing similarities between the two religions. From wear I was standing during his talk, I could see that everyone in the room (about 30 people by this point), had tears in their eyes or were silently crying. It was amazingly intense and powerful.

The evening ended with a tish: singing, drinking, shmoozing.

I’m hoping to plan more interfaith Shabbats like this one – it was a really amazing experience for all involved.

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