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Christian Leadership Initiative: ‘Important to Learn from Jewish Scholars’

Jerusalem Post details the recent visit of CLI to Israel and Hartman campus for study and travel

AJC Program Engages Christian Leaders in Jewish Study Jerusalem Post, 2011

The Christian Leadership Initiative, a joint program of the Hartman Institute and American Jewish Committee to provide Christian leaders with an opportunity to gain a more profound understanding of Judaism and the Jewish people, visited Israel and the Hartman campus for two weeks of learning with Institute scholars.

Some comments by CLI participants, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post:

Elena Procario-Foley, a professor of Christian Theology and chairwoman of Jewish-Catholic Studies at Iona College in New York, said that the ability to study and communicate directly with Jewish teachers was crucial in gaining a better grasp of Judaism, the connection of the Jewish people to the land and Christianity itself.

“It’s important to learn directly from Jewish scholars and to interact with people in order to create a foundation for Jewish-Christian understanding and for reconciliation. Our job as professors and pastors is to open up the doors of understanding to that relationship.

“For those of us who teach this material, learning about such texts should be a transformative process. Doing so in the Holy Land makes the experience really exceptional and it is a privilege which not many people get to do.

“The program has also enhanced our ability to help our congregations in the US understand these issues, and it’s almost impossible to do this without the kind of exposure we’ve gained by coming here in person.”

Derrick Harkins, pastor at the 19th Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC: “Interfaith work is about understanding the distinctions between our religions, while at the same time looking for the common ground between us. No other religions share the same sacred texts in the way that Judaism and Christianity do. But we’re not looking for some unified mélange of belief and faith, the purpose of the initiative is to appreciate the differences between us in order to give a sense of clarity to each other’s faith.”

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