Friday, November 12, 2010

So a Cantor and a Pope walk into a bar...

I've always been interested in interfaith dialogue; as the son of a convert to Judaism, raised as a Jew in the very deepest part of the Bible Belt, it was only natural that I became interested in how people of different faiths communicate (even if for a while it was only as a matter of survival!).

Soon after my wife and I started dating, I taught in a Hebrew High School program on comparative religion, and even in my work today, I'm exposed to some really great faith and interfaith organizations, such as the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty.

So I am totally thrilled to be a part of an incredible event in Rome, a journey that began in 1965 with the release of the Nostra Aetate by the Second Vatican Council, absolving generations of Jews of the death of Jesus. The path of reconciliation has continued since - though not without some speedbumps - and continues tomorrow with our trip to Rome.

While I am only an observer (and an incredibly lucky husband), I am excited beyond words to be a part of this momentous occasion. This trip marks the first time that a concert of Jewish music will be performed for the Pope, at the Basilica of Santa Marie degli Angeli e dei Martiri before Pope Benedict XVI and other Vatican leaders. Just typing that gives me goosebumps!!!

I hope to write some from Rome as the trip unfolds, but I wanted to share a personal reflection on the eve of our trip:

Our world is a beautiful, fragile, divinely-inspired creation. All too often we let our differences obscure the many common traits and values we share, and it is only through dialogue and humility that we can begin to achieve Tikkun Olam - to fix our world, to heal its soul, and bring us all closer to the vision of what can truly be: a reflection of God's image.

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