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August 29, 2014 | 3rd Elul 5774

EXPANDING THE INTERRELIGIOUS WORK OF REFORM JUDAISM

Board of Trustees
May 1968
New York, New York

EXPANDING THE INTERRELIGIOUS WORK OF REFORM JUDAISM


The Situation

The openness of contemporary religious life offers new opportunities for interreligious contact that carry us into areas other than interreligious social action.

As we are witnessing a growing sociological and cultural Christian demand in and curiosity about the Jew and Judaism, so are we aware of a growing demand of Christian leaders that their constituents know more about the Jewish roots of their own faith.

The Discussion

One of the ways in which these interests express themselves is in the growing desire for interreligious dialogue even on matters of religious thought. Among the questions raised for Jews by expanding Christian interest is whether or not dialogue is ultimately conversionary in intent and secondly, whether or not dialogue is the proper function of religiously affiliated laymen.

We welcome these statements of different Christian groups, which clearly state that conversion is not the goal of interreligious dialogue.

Moreover, we believe that dialogue, even on matters of religious thought, is as much a concern and responsibility of religiously affiliated and informed laymen as it is the concern and responsibility of the rabbinate. We are commanded to be "a kingdom of priests and holy people". If those interested in and connected with institutions of religion cannot talk with one another about matters religious, then who can or should?

The Resolution

WE, THEREFORE:

  1. REAFFIRM both the biennial resolution of 1965 summoning "our congregations to enter more intensively into dialogue with our Christian compatriots, even into those areas which touch on matters of faith", and the 1963 biennial convention resolution urging our congregations "to create the congregational mechanism which will promote and carry on the interfaith program of Reform Judaism by the formation of a congregational interfaith committee, or by using an already existing coordinating arm of the congregation";

  2. URGE the formation of regional interfaith committees in each of our movement's sixteen regions;

  3. FURTHER URGE our regions to focus their attention at their forthcoming regional conventions on the subject of interreligious relations, with special attention to the inhibitions as well as the possibilities for deeper interreligious contact, and with special attention to the role of the Land of Israel.

IN THESE ENDEAVORS, WE COMMEND the work and programs of the national Commission on Interfaith Activities of Reform Judaism.

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