What is “best practice” in response to trauma suffered by individuals or communities? How does faith inform responses by adherents of different religious traditions? What is the impact of interfaith work in this area?
These were among a variety of issues discussed at the National Dialogue between the Uniting Church in Australia and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, which took place over Zoom last week.
The co-chairs of the discussion were Reverend Tara Curlewis and Jeremy Jones, both of whom are active internationally as well as with dialogues in Australia.
“It is the 54th time the delegations of Christian and Jewish representatives have met, but there has been no waning in interest or enthusiasm over more than three decades,” Jones said.
“While convening online doesn’t have the same energy as generated at our face-to-face meetings, it has allowed us to maintain momentum and continuity in the longest-running formal national interfaith dialogue in Australia.”
The lead presentations from the Jewish community were made by Rabbanit Judith Levitan and Rabbi Yaakov Glasman.
Other Jewish participants were Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio, Melinda Jones, Julie Nathan and Peter Wertheim.
The Uniting Church presentations included a reflection inspired by Psalm 23 given by Alison Bleyerveen and a report by Reverend Dr Stephen Robinson on his encounters with members of religious communities who had been subjected to violence, including the Tree of Life – Or l’Simcha community in Pittsburgh.
“We appreciated in particular the opportunity to briefly discuss the importance of solidarity against antisemitism, in the context of the genuine friendship manifest at the dialogue,” Jones noted.
The dialogue also discussed some of the issues covered at the recent World Council of Churches Assembly, convened in Germany, including contemporary interfaith relations and the council’s discussions on Israel.