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Jewish-Christian Relations since the Inception of th Council of Christians and Jews

William W. Simpson

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish-Christian relations since the inception of the Council of Christians and Jews* WILLIAM W. SIMPSON Almost forty years have elapsed since the first formal meeting of the Council of Christians and Jews was held on 20 March 1942 under the chairmanship of William Temple. At the outset of the proceedings he was congratulated by the Chief Rabbi Dr J. H. Hertz on having been 'nominated by His Majesty to be Primate of All England/ There were four Joint-Presidents: the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Moderator of the Free Church Federal Council and the Chief Rabbi. There was a message from the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Hinsley, to explain that 'although he did not feel at this stage that he could accept an invitation to become one of the Joint-Presidents, should such an invitation be extended to him he was most anxious to do anything he could to cooperate in the checking of anti-Semitism and racial persecution'. Jewish-Christian relations during the 19th century provided the initial impetus for the Council. For some Christians, particularly the more evangeli? cally minded, there had been the problem of how to bring about the conversion of Jews to Christianity, and Missions to Jews proliferated in a number of cities, notably in East London. But the winds of change were beginning to be felt. On 12 July 1924, Professor W. A. L. Elmslie of Westminster College, Cambridge, wrote to Herbert Loewe, then Reader in Rabbinic Studies in Oxford, explaining that there had been much heart-searching in the English Presbyterian Church regarding their 'relations towards Judaism'. A sub-committee had been appointed 'to think things over and to make any suggestions it may feel useful or possible'. 'In face of sheer unbelief, the materialism and moral evil in the world', Dr Elmslie deplored the mutual ignorance and misunderstanding in which Jews and Christians had been content to live, and pleaded for thought about these matters on both sides. He ended with an invitation to Mr Loewe to meet the members of this sub-committee. Not only was this invitation accepted, but at Herbert Loewe's suggestion it was extended to include Israel Abrahams. It must have been a fascinating occasion, for the committee was anxious to discuss not only the Presbyterian attitude to Judaism, but also how they might run their Jewish Mission Centre in Bethnal Green without offence to the Jewish community. Their report to the * Paper presented to the Society on 17 March 1982. 89</page><page sequence="2">go William W. Simpson General Assembly of the English Presbyterian Church expressed 'deep apprecia? tion of the spirit in which Dr Abrahams and Mr Loewe had participated', adding that even if the appointment of this Sub-Committee should have no practical issue beyond the fact that such a meeting had been held and that it has been carried through amicably and in the manifest longing on both sides that the work of God's Kingdom on earth might be advanced; this in itself we feel to be a result worth attaining. The Report contained a number of practical proposals which might have provided a programme for a council of Christians and Jews, but there is no evidence of an attempt to implement them beyond a decision to change the Bethnal Green Mission from a medical to a study centre. This proved of little effect in spite of the appointment (short-lived as it proved) of Dr T. W. Manson, already a distinguished New Testament and Rabbinic scholar, as its director. The issue was finally settled by a Nazi bomb during the London Blitz fifteen years later. At about the same time as the Presbyterian initiative another significant step was taken by the Social Service Committee of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John's Wood, which invited a number of religious bodies to join in a conference on 'Religion as an Educational Force'. This resulted in the establishment of a Society of Jews and Christians to which we shall return later. Three other signs of a changing atmosphere deserve mention. The first was the publication in 1930 of James Parkes's first study of the causes of anti-Semitism. Entitled The Jew and His Neighbour, it was the first to focus attention on the religious roots of this ubiquitous evil. A second less widely known contribution to this field was published five years later by the Cambridge University Press under the title Adversus Judaeos: A bird's eye view of Christian aplogiae until the Renaissance. Its author, Canon Lukyn Williams was a deeply convinced and saintly evangelical. Commenting on 'A Treatise on the Chronic Obstinacy of the Jews' by Peter the Venerable, the ninth abbot of Cluny who died in 1156, Canon Williams wrote: It is only rarely that Christian writers have regarded Jews otherwise than from a level presupposed to be immeasurably higher than the Jewish, and have been able to keep out of sight their conviction that the unbelief of Jews was due to sheer obstinacy! Christian writers often lacked the knowledge, and too often even the love, which would have made their zeal effective. The comment has remained only too relevant even since the Renaissance. The third manifestation was the emergence in 1934 of a Youth Council on Jewish Christian Relationships. A Christian initiative, it set out to alert</page><page sequence="3">Jewish-Christian relations since Council of Christians and Jews 91 Christian youth to the dangers of anti-Semitism, and to encourage them to make friendly contact with their opposite numbers in the Jewish world. Six years later, in the summer of 1940, it developed into a joint Jewish-Christian youth organization, and in due course was quietly absorbed into the Council of Christians and Jews. To this period also belong the influx into the United Kingdom of refugees from Nazi persecution, the proliferation of organizations for their assistance, the urgent need for consultation and cooperation, and the Lord Baldwin Fund for Refugees which, among other things, made possible the opening up of 'Bloomsbury House' which, in spite of the frustrating complexity of the problems facing the helpers and the helped alike, proved for many of the refugees a doorway into new life. The cooperation established between Jewish and Christian refugee organi? zations and the impact of the earliest reports of Hitler's implementation of his 'Final Solution of the Jewish Problem' now combined to bring about the establishment of the Council of Christians and Jews. There are two accounts of the initial steps. The first is recorded by James Parkes in his autobiography Voyages of Discovery, (p. 174) where he claims that 'the first steps to the formation of the Council of Christians and Jews were taken under a pear tree at Barley, through Mrs Kathleen Freeman who did almost all the preliminary visiting of possible supporters'. I happen to know, because I was involved in them, that similar discussions were taking place in Bloomsbury House where Mrs Freeman was also well known as a member of the Bishop of Chichester's Committee for non-Aryan Christian Refugees. One needed only to build on the foundations already laid by the Society of Jews and Christians, with which Mrs Freeman was also associated, as indeed was suggested. Yet the Chief Rabbi, Dr J. H. Hertz, was no lover of what he was wont to refer to as 'religious fraternization' which he declared was 'neither desired nor desirable'. Of such 'fraternization' he regarded the Society of Jews and Christians as the outstanding example, and had so vigorously attacked it on public occasions that he could not be persuaded to make a diet of his diatribes. It was equally inconceivable that there could be any form of national organization of Christians and Jews in which the Chief Rabbi was not involved. The dilemma was resolved when it was decided to invite William Temple, who was then Archbishop of York, to preside at a luncheon conference to discuss the setting up of such a body. The Archbishop agreed not only to preside but also to write to Dr Hertz in the reasonable, and as it happened correct, expectation that he would be unlikely to say 'No' to His Grace of York. The luncheon took place on 19 November 1941. A thirteen-page record of what transpired is preserved in the minutes of the Council's Executive</page><page sequence="4">92 William W. Simpson Committee. In opening the proceedings the Archbishop made observations of fundamental importance. It is possible for those who wish to develop certain kinds of nationalism or racialism to exploit the tendencies towards antisemitic feeling. The matter with which we are dealing [anti-Semitism] is not an isolated question but a symptom of something very evil. ... We are dealing with a problem of civilisation and not only the relationship between Jew and Christian. It is essential, therefore, that our approach should as far as possible be positive. We cannot effectively resist such a wave of feeling as goes under the name of antisemitism merely by direct opposition to it. The positive approach for which I am looking is the actual engagement of Jews and Christians together in the fuller understanding of an operation of the principles they have shaped together which have their roots in the Old Testament Scriptures. This was the heart of the matter. It is clear from the report that members had in their hands a preparatory document, but I have not so far succeeded in finding a copy. Its tenor, however, is clear from references to it, including certain caveats from the Chief Rabbi, who warned against any attempt 'to promote cooperation between youth organisations in educational and social activities.' He was also opposed to any suggestion that Jews might press for changes in religious teaching in Christian schools. As for 'fraternization', he reminded those who were interested that there already existed what on this occasion he referred to as 'an excellent Society of Jews and Christians under the Chairmanship of the Dean of St. Paul's' Dr W. R. Matthews. Dr Matthews was in fact only the co-chairman, together with Rabbi Dr 1.1. Mattuck who was also present, but to whom Dr Hertz studiously avoided any reference. The immediate outcome was the appointment of a 'continuation com? mittee' which in due course arranged a further meeting of those who had attended the original conference. This meeting, to which I referred at the outset, on 20 March 1942 formally constituted itself into a Council of Christians and Jews. The aims of the Council, adopted by that meeting, declared that: Since the Nazi attack on Jewry has revealed that antisemitism is part of a general and comprehensive attack on Christianity and Judaism and on the ethical principles common to both religions which form the basis of the free national life of Great Britain the Council adopts the following aims: i to check and combat religious and racial intolerance; ii to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews in all sections of the community, especially in connection with problems arising from conditions created by the war; iii to promote fellowship between Christian and Jewish youth organizations in educational and cultural activities;</page><page sequence="5">Jewish-Christian relations since Council of Christians and Jews 93 iv to foster cooperation of Christians and Jews in study and service directed towards post-war reconstruction. Apart from the mention of anti-Semitism in the preamble there is no specific reference to it in the aims as such, but only to religious and racial intolerance. For the rest the emphasis is positive throughout, and 'fellowship between youth organisations' survived. But the game was not without its hazards. A predictable decision of this first meeting was 'to refer to the Executive Committee [which had just been appointed] the preparation of a statement for the Press announcing the formation of the Council'. The committee met immediately after this first general meeting, and the minutes reveal (it was I who wrote them) that one of the first issues to be raised was whether 'Contributions to the funds of the Council might be accepted from individuals or organisations connected with or involved in conversionist activities'. The answer was unequivocal: 'the Council was a body through which neither conversionist activities or hopes would be promoted' and 'this principle would be observed in connection with the raising of funds'. Through the whole period of my association with the Council one of the several tightrope acts in which I found myself engaged was between Jewish friends who feared that the organization was merely a veiled form of proselytizing and Christian friends who were afraid it was not! The public announcement of the formation was delayed by several factors all of which had to do with the joint-presidency. First it was agreed to hold over the announcement until William Temple had been enthroned at Canterbury on 17 April. On 7 May it is recorded in the executive minutes that 'the Chief Rabbi raised the question as to whether, if the statement appeared over the names of various signatories, it would be wiser to exclude Jewish names'. The committee was unanimously of the opinion that it would not! Two weeks later, after a draft statement had been referred back for further consideration, the committee discussed a number of proposed activities which were referred for more detailed study to Dr Parkes and Dr Mattuck. Their subsequent report included a reference to 'the importance of securing a fair presentation in elementary, secondary and Sunday school education of the position of the Jews'. Although the Parkes/Mattuck proposal was hedged by the recommenda? tion that the matter be left in the hands of the Christian members, Dr Hertz took great exception to the suggestion that the Council should in any way contemplate 'Jewish interference with New Testament instruction in Christian schools and vice versa'. He recalled that at the Grosvenor House Conference he had insisted that 'any action in connection with New Testament instruction must be outside and quite independent of the Council of Christians and Jews'.</page><page sequence="6">94 William W. Simpson He also complained of the inadequacy of Orthodox Jewish representation on the executive committee. This he communicated not to the secretary, but directly to the Archbishop, adding that 'after long and careful consideration he felt in duty bound to dissociate Orthodox Jewry and himself from membership of the Executive Committee'. There followed a meeting between the Chief Rabbi and the Archbishop, a meeting between the Archbishop and the executive, a letter from Dr Temple to Dr Hertz setting out his understanding of the basis of Jewish-Christian cooperation, and a visit from the chairman of the Council's executive (the Reverend Henry Carter) to the Chief Rabbi. On this visit I had the privilege of accompanying my chairman. I was the almost silent observer of a fascinating encounter which ended with the Chief Rabbi repeating one of his more remarkable obiter dicta. 'Mr Carter', he said, 'I have always thought of myself as a man of peace. If I cannot get what I want by any other means I am always prepared to accept a peaceful solution.' With peace thus restored a compromise formula was written into the minutes of the executive, its Orthodox membership was strengthened and a paragraph from the Archbishop's letter to Dr Hertz selected as a guideline for all future activity by the Council. That paragraph was subsequently written into the Council's constitution and reads as follows: My own approach to this matter is governed by the consideration that the effectiveness of any religious belief depends upon its definiteness and that neither Jews nor Christians should in my judgement combine in any such way as to obscure the distinctiveness of their witness to their own beliefs. There is much that we can do together in combatting religious and racial intolerance, in forwarding social progress and in bearing witness to those moral principles which we unite in upholding. Now a further problem arose in connection with the continuing hope that Cardinal Hinsley would agree to serve as a joint-president. A Cardinal, I had been reminded, is a Prince of the Church with an international status. He must therefore be careful to avoid any political and especially international political involvement. In this connection 'Palestine' was frequently mentioned. More? over, while the Archbishop was strongly opposed to anti-Semitism, he had to keep clear of anything in the nature of inter-religious cooperation, for this was twenty years before Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council. Eventually it was reported to a meeting of the executive committee held on 3 September that 'the Archbishop of Canterbury had received a letter from His Eminence Cardinal Hinsley expressing his willingness to become a Joint-Presi? dent of the Council on the understanding that any statement to be signed by the Joint-Presidents or to go out from the Executive Committee in the name of the</page><page sequence="7">Jewish-Christian relations since Council of Christians and Jews 9 5 Council should be submitted to him well in advance'. The minutes of the same meeting report that the statement announcing the formation of the Council had not yet been sent to the Press in view of certain difficulties felt by the Cardinal. Those difficulties, the secretary added, had been the subject of correspondence between himself and the Cardinal who, in a letter received the day before the meeting, had asked that the following note be appended to the statement: 'His Eminence Cardinal Hinsley, Archbishop of Westminster, endorses the condem? nation of antisemitism and has since the composition of this Statement, joined the Council as a Joint-President as a mark of his strong protest against all persecution of the Jewish people'. After some discussion the committee agreed to meet the Cardinal's wishes in this matter, and on 1 October the statement appeared in The Times and other papers. It was also broadcast by the BBC in what was then its principal news bulletin, the 9 o'clock news, to which, in those days, all the world listened. At the following meeting of the executive committee, on 5 November, it was reported that the only unfavourable comment noted had been in statements broadcast by the German radio, one in the German news service from Berlin and the other in the British News Service from the German-controlled station in Calais. In two British journals, the Jewish Weekly, and a Free Church newspaper, the British Weekly, concern had been expressed 'lest certain of the Council's activities should lead either to compromise or confusion in respect of the differences between Judaism and Christianity'. So at last, almost a year after the conference at which it had been first conceived, the birth of the Council was officially announced. The period of gestation had been long and not without its anxieties. It was a period during which the secretary (he admitted) learned many things about people, especially important ones, and also about procedures, some of which were to stand him in good stead until his retirement in 1974. The development of the Council's work in this country was largely predictable. There were local Councils to be set up and nurtured, meetings and conferences, mainly educational, to be arranged, and publications to be prepared and issued, including the now quarterly magazine Common Ground. Of outstanding interest and importance has been the series of Robert Waley Cohen Memorial Lectures. No record of this subject would be complete without some reference to the part played by Sir Robert Waley Cohen. The executive committee minutes of 7 January 1953 record the deep sense of gratitude to Sir Robert for his devoted service as treasurer during the first ten years of its existence, and went on to say: But he was much more than a Treasurer. The vision which prompted him to take so</page><page sequence="8">96 William W. Simpson active a part in the discussions which in the beginning led to the setting up of the Council remained with him undimmed to the end, the vision of a truly democratic society in which the relations between men and groups should be built upon the foundations of tolerance and mutual respect as a positive and effective answer to the threat of any form of totalitarianism. Some of the earliest of the lectures in the series are classic expositions of the nature of tolerance. The first was by Sir Richard Livingstone on 'Tolerance in Theory and Practice', the second by Professor Arthur Goodhart on 'Tolerance and the Law', and the third, on 'The Historical Development of the Principle of Toleration in British Life', was by Sir Herbert Butterfield, then Professor of Modern History at Cambridge. Other early contributors to the series were Alexander Altmann, Charles Raven and Isaiah Berlin, and in 1962 Geoffrey Fisher, the then Archbishop of Canterbury. The Council owed another field of activity to Albert Polack, its Education Officer for some twenty-two years. An educator to his finger tips, Albert was seized with an infectious concern for textbooks, and in particular for the influence of history textbooks on the thoughts, feelings and attitudes of the young. What happens, he would jokingly ask, if you teach English history to the tune of 'Rule Britannia'? More seriously, he was concerned about the effects of the more conventional presentations of the role of the Jew and other minorities in British life. In the autumn of 19 51 the Council agreed to institute a survey of history textbooks then in use in British schools for the eleven to fifteen age group. More than a hundred books were examined from Protestant, Catholic and Jewish points of view by more than fifty readers. The survey took two years to complete and its findings were published in a report entitled History Without Bias? Though the situation was not as bad as some had feared, there was sufficient evidence of prejudiced or tendentious presentation, for the most part quite unconscious, to alert even the most complacent. A similar survey of religious textbooks was attempted, but for reasons which at that stage lay altogether outside the Council's control, was never completed. There is still much to be done in this field, and indeed much has been done, especially in Europe and America and under the auspices of the Text Book Institute in Braunschweig, the Council of Europe and UNESCO, though not with a specifically Jewish-Christian relevance. There have been many other developments in this country, some of which may owe their inspiration to the Council, while others seem to be spon? taneously generated particularly in areas where Jewish and Christian com? munities live together as neighbours. There has been progress also in the academic sphere where studies in Judaism and Jewish history are today much more widely available than formerly.</page><page sequence="9">Jewish-Christian relations since Council of Christians and Jews 97 An area of particular success has been in the organizing of international conferences. The first took place in Oxford in August 1946 under the joint auspices of the British Council of Christians and Jews and its American counterpart, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, which had been in existence since 1928. It was, I believe, the first international conference of Christians and Jews ever to take place. Its principal theme was not the fight against anti-Semitism, but the need to establish and to safeguard 'Freedom, Justice and Responsibility'. Its major achievement was the promulgation of a Declaration of the Fundamental Postulates of Judaism and Christianity in relation to Social Order. In its preparation Catholics and Protestants, Orthodox and Liberal Jews worked happily and successfully together. The text, together with the preparatory papers, was subsequently published under the title The Foundations of our Civilization, and like many other declarations promulgated by international bodies, its message is timeless. The 1946 conference made two important recommendations: first, that as early as possible an emergency conference be held on anti-Semitism in Europe, and second, that steps be taken to set up an International Council of Christians and Jews. 'As early as possible' proved to be a year later when, in August 1947, an International Conference on Antisemitism was held in Switzerland at Seelis berg, a name destined to be associated with one of the most significant postwar developments in the field of Jewish-Christian relations. The third of the five commissions into which the conference was divided addressed itself to 'the content and form of Christian teaching which should serve, not only to combat antisemitism, but also to promote good relations between Jews and Christians'. Its recommendations, in the form of an address to Churches, suggested ten ways in which Christian teaching about its Jewish origins and the presentation of the Passion story could be purified of those anti-Jewish elements which had done so much to create and perpetuate anti-Semitism. Known as the Ten Points of Seelisberg, these proposals quickly made an impact, particularly in Catholic circles on the Continent, where they helped to prepare the way for the reinterpretation and the eventual dropping of the reference to the 'Perfidei Judaei' from the Good Friday Mass. They were also among the factors which led to a declaration on anti-Semitism by the World Council of Churches at its New Delhi Assembly in 1961, and to the Vatican Council Declaration (Nostra Aetate) on relations with people of other faiths, including Jews, promulgated in 1965. Ten years later in 1975 the Vatican issued a set of guidelines for the implementation of its declaration, and the World Council of Churches is shortly to do the same. Final decisions on the setting up of an International Council were delayed until the following year, 1948, when a third International Conference was held</page><page sequence="10">98 William W. Simpson in the Catholic University of Fribourg in Switzerland on the theme of Intergroup Education. By this time a constitution had been prepared, the fruit of much discussion over a period of more than a year between representatives of the American, British, French and Swiss organizations. Submitted to a committee comprising representatives of these four bodies, the draft was unanimously approved and referred to the founding bodies for ratification. For the European groups this presented no problem. However, the executive director of the American organization had other ideas. In the internationally euphoric atmosphere of the immediate postwar period he had been persuaded that something more broadly based than a council of Christians and Jews was called for, so he devised a body to be known as World Brotherhood - a title to which no one could possibly take exception, but for the implementation of which one needed resources greater than those he could command. After a few experimental years it quietly closed. Meanwhile, the European groups, unable to sustain an international council on their own, abandoned the struggle in favour of maintaining friendly, informal contact between their respective secretaries. This, however, was not the end of the Fribourg story. Three years later the Vatican issued a directive warning the Catholic hierarchy against any contact with the International Council of Christians and Jews. Most of the recipients could be excused for never having heard of such a body, mainly because it had never really come into being. But Cardinal Griffin, decided to seek advice from Rome as to whether the directive covered his own association with the Council in Great Britain. Three years later, for reasons which were said to have something to do with tendencies towards indifferentism - the idea that it really matters very little who believes what-the Cardinal was instructed to withdraw from the British Council and to take all the Catholic members with him. This he did and for ten years the Council was without the benefit of Cathoic participation, though no one really understood why. Archbishop Worlock, the Catholic archbishop of Liverpool who was formerly secretary to Cardinal Griffin, suggested in the course of an address in 1981 to the Council of Christians and Jews in Leeds that the whole episode was due to an unfortunate misunderstanding. Looking back from the inside position which I held at Westminster in those days, I can say simply that the instruction issued to Cardinal Griffin appears to have been based on false information. The Council in this country had been associated with and denounced by another international brotherhood. It took us some two or more years to disentangle the facts and to show that the body about which there was concern was not the Council in this country. But it is always difficult to get decisions reversed and the situation drifted into the 1960s. It took Cardinal Heenan to break the impasse. After arriving at</page><page sequence="11">Jewish-Christian relations since Council of Christians and Jews 99 the Archbishopric of Westminster some ten years later, he merely informed the powers-that-be that he assumed that the ban no longer applied and that he would act accordingly unless he heard to the contrary. So once more the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster became a Joint-President of the Council. (Text kindly supplied by Archbishop Worlock.) One day, one hopes, the full story will be told. In August 1966, with Roman Catholic participation in the Council happily restored, the twentieth anniversary of the original Oxford conference was celebrated with a further international conference, this time at Cambridge. Progress during the intervening years is reflected in the following extract from the introduction to the Cambridge report: Since 1946, and largely as a result of the impetus given by that [the Oxford] Conference, Councils of Christians and Jews have sprung up and developed all over Europe, in Canada and Australia, and throughout the United States of America, Central and South America. 'Twenty Years After' [the title given to the 1966 conference], therefore, revealed a very different picture: that of a network of active Councils, deeply involved in the task of education and dialogue, and instrumental within their own countries in affecting the climate of opinion on Christian-Jewish relationship. In addition, the ideas and thinking generated by the 1946 Conference, and by a further International Conference held at Seelisberg in Switzerland in 1947, began to make themselves felt in Europe and in wider fields . . . Of the four commissions which worked throughout the conference the most significant was the second, which dealt with the opportunities and limitations of the Jewish-Christian dialogue. The Commission declared, that: The Second Vatican Council, the World Council of Churches and a number of Jewish bodies have recently called Christians and Jews to overcome past misunderstanding and to work together in friendship. In response to these calls this Conference commends dialogue as a way for Jews and Christians to come into an open relationship based on unconditional respect for the integrity of the conscience and for the freedom and uniqueness of each participant. The dialogue of which we are speaking is a dialogue between persons. It is an attitude to life, not a mere technique. It is a relationship which has been found in experience to be capable of deepening the spiritual life of all participants alike, for each is given in dialogue full opportunity to express his own position in all freedom. It has proved an enrichment of their faith in God to committed Jews and Christians, and has dispelled many misunderstandings of each about the faith and practice of the other. We believe that it is not only consistent with our several loyalties to Church or Synagogue, but that it also increases inter-religious harmony as we face together the problems and needs of our changing world. By this time the way was open for further development in the international</page><page sequence="12">IOO William W. Simpson field, and in 1973 there came another important breakthrough. The American Conference of Christians and Jews appointed a new executive president, Dr David Hyatt, a Catholic, who at once set aside the quasi-isolationist policy of his predecessor, and attended a meeting of an International Consultative Com? mittee of Organisations for Jewish-Christian Cooperation, which had been set up in 1962. The following year he came again to Europe, observed that the name of the International Consultative Committee, though descriptively accurate was confusingly cumbersome and suggested that it be changed to the International Council of Christians and Jews. There was immediate and ready agreement. The wheel had come full circle. There was no Catholic objection, and development became possible, and has occurred, on all fronts. The events of the past forty years with the most far-reaching implications for Jewish-Christian relations have been the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. The first has already given a tremendous impetus to dialogue, yet has posed a multitude of as yet unanswered and maybe unanswerable questions both about man and God. The second is a major item in our daily diet of anxiety and discussion. It was inevitable that the Council of Christians and Jews, nationally and internationally, should become involved with both these issues. In 1961 Abba Eban, then Minister of Education and Culture in Israel, delivered the Waley Cohen Memorial Lecture on 'The Final Solution'. Fourteen years later, in 1975, the International Council marked the thirtieth anniver? sary of the liberation of the camps by holding a conference in Hamburg on the Holocaust. The programme included a pilgrimage to Bergen-Belsen with its silently eloquent avenues of mass-graves. Rabbi Irving Greenberg of New York impressively likened the sufferings of the Holocaust, and Jewry's new life in Israel not only to the sufferings of Israel in Egypt and the deliverance that is celebrated at Passover, but also to the story of the dying and rising again that Christians celebrate at Easter. While Christians and Jews celebrate their different festivals separately he urged that they should do so with a recognition of the relevance to both of the mystery of the Holocaust. A year later, and thirty years after the Oxford conference of 1946, the International Council gathered in Jerusalem to study some of the current problems in the field of Jewish-Christian relations posed by the emergence of the State of Israel. They went much deeper than the range of current political and economic issues, and were concerned not merely with the dialogue between Christians and Jews but with a dialogue - or trialogue - in which eventually Muslims too, and others, must play their part. It was an occasion made all the more significant by the initiative and care of the Israel Interfaith Committee, the Israeli member of the International Council of Christians and Jews. During the period since Jerusalem in 1976, several new national groups</page><page sequence="13">Jewish-Christian relations since Council of Christians and Jews 101 have been established, further international conferences have been held in New York, in Vienna, and in West Germany where the headquarters of the International Council are now established at Heppenheim on the Bergstrasse between Frankfurt on Main and Heidelberg. In August 1982 the Council met in Berlin with visits and discussions on both sides of the Wall. The International Council headquarters in Heppenheim, were placed at the Council's disposal by the West German authorities in 1978, the centenary year of the birth of Martin Buber. They consist of the completely rehabilitated house in which the Buber family lived for sixteen years from 1922 until, as refugees from Nazi persecution, they were compelled to escape to Jerusalem in 1938: the year in which Buber's Ich und Du, first published in 1923, appeared in an English translation as I and Thou and did much to stimulate in Christian circles especially, interest in the nature of the true dialogue. Those who are interested in coincidences or who believe that the age of miracles is not entirely passed, will like to know that the recently appointed secretary of the International Council is a Dutch Pastor who was awarded his doctorate for a thesis on the work and influence of Martin Buber, and who came to Heppenheim directly from Jerusalem where he had spent thirteen years working in the field of interfaith relations.</page></plain_text>