For the first time in sacred history, a city Rabbi of the State of Israel, member of the chief Rabbinate of Israel, is reciprocating back to the Christians who have a heart for Israel and the Jewish people, by initiating a Center of Relational Dialogue in order to clarify the theological and faith areas in which we agree and in which we disagree in order to cement our common goals of Religion for Peace and security for the embattled State of Israel.
The center is founded on the proposition that each of our great faith communities, rooted in a shared Bible, which we both accept as the eternal word of G-d, must begin a theological dialogue. The discourse that takes place encompasses a mutual respect of each other’s faith and defies any goal of converting one to the faith of the other. It also rejects the necessity of one compromising his or her theological truths in deference to the other.
We believe that only when we truly clarify our respective truths, faith commitments and ideals with honesty and clarity will we become fully empowered to embrace the other in a love completely devoid of fear. We are certain that through these relational dialogues we will find far more which unites us than divides us – and will be able to speak with substance and direction to the confused and concerned masses threatened to be overwhelmed by material secularism on the one hand and Islamic fundamentalism on the other.
Why now? “For every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). For the nearly two thousand years of Jewish exile prior to the establishment of the Jewish State, persecution, pogrom and even bloodshed muted any possibility of dialogue, turning us into sworn enemies instead of national partners.
But a sea change has occurred during these last several decades. Christians are sincerely trumpeting the call that G-d remains faithful to His initial covenant with Israel, and that the Biblical prophecy is continually being fulfilled through the people of Israel living in its covenanted land. Even the most desperate of times, during this last period, when Israel was forsaken by many of the Diaspora Jews, Christians continued to visit the Holy Land and comfort Zion and her people with prayer, offerings and sincere fellowship. This new reality is one of the great miracles of our times and calls for our faiths to foster friendship and mutual support.
Both of our faith communities originate in G-d’s election, are constituted by G-d’s covenant, and anticipate G-d’s redemption. We must better understand each other so that we may even more firmly support each other – and together turn a fragile and fragmented world on the brink of disaster into a united world community committed to a G-d of love and peace.