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Interfaith


ADL Sponsors Major Catholic-Jewish Dialogue in Honor of Rabbi Leon Klenicki

Posted: March 23, 2009

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. announced the launching of a major new national Catholic-Jewish permanent dialogue.

The announcement was made February 26 following a national tribute to the late Rabbi Leon Klenicki, ADL's longtime Director of Interfaith Affairs who passed away in January.

Prominent Catholic and Jewish leaders from around the country, including cardinals, bishops, and leading national Catholic officials joined with prominent rabbis to memorialize Rabbi Klenicki, a pioneer in interfaith relations. The group then met for two hours to discuss the future of Catholic-Jewish relations in America in light of several ongoing controversies facing the dialogue.
 
Following the session, sponsored by ADL and hosted by the John Paul II Center, the religious leaders announced their intention to launch a new permanent dialogue between the two religions, which would meet regularly to deal with controversies and help deepen the dialogue between Catholics and Jews.  The new dialogue would be based at the Pope John Paul II Center, as requested by the Vatican.
 
The gathering in Washington has been called the most significant gathering of Catholic and Jewish leaders since Pope Benedict XVI's two events with Jewish audiences during his 2008 visit to the United States.  Religious leaders called the formation of the new dialogue group a historic event.

Participants at the event included Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley of Boston, Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, D.C., Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Center, Father James Massa, Executive Director of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Father Steven Boguslawski, Executive Director of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, Dr. Philip Cunningham, Director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA, Sister Celia Deutch, Associate Professor at Barnard College, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, Rabbi Eric Greenberg, ADL Director of Interfaith Policy, Rabbi James Rudin, Senior Interreligious Advisor for the American Jewish Committee, Rabbi Irving Yitz Greenberg, founding President, CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and Rabbi Ruth Langer, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Boston College and Associate Director of its Center for Christian-Jewish Learning.

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