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February 03, 1984 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-02-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

22 friday, February 3, 1984

Oil Deposit
Found in Israel

Aot BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN

NEW YORK — The first
commercially productive oil
discovery to be drilled in Is-
rael in more than 20 years
was reported last week by
Isramco, a U.S. oil and gas
company that has a 38.5
percent interest in the proj-
ect.
The size of the find has yet
to be proven, but the well
was producing at the rate of
185 barrels per day.
Full production will begin
when equipment is in-
stalled. The well is located
near Arad, in the northern
Negev Desert.

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DIAMONDS

Flap Over AJCongress Institute
Called Unwarranted, Overstated

NEW YORK (JTA) —
Theodore Freedman, direc-
tor of the national inter-
group relations division of
the Anti-Defamation
League of Bnai Brith, said
that the controversy over
the conference sponsored by
the American Jewish Con-
gress at the University of
Lucerne in cooperation with
the Vatican Commission on
Religious Relations with
the Jews "is both unwar-
ranted and overstated."
Freedman's statement to
the Jewish Telegraphic
Agency was in response to
the polemic in the Jewish
world over the creation by
the American Jewish Con-
gress of an Institute for
Jewish-Christian Relations
to promote dialogue on
theological issues.
The institute's first an-
nual conference which took
place in Lucerne last
month, on "The Authority
and Interpretation of Scrip-
ture in Judaism and Chris-
tianity," was attended by
scholars from all over the
world.
The institute, which is
affiliated with the AJ-
Congress, is co-
sponsored by the Insti-
tute for Christian-Jewish
Research of the Theolog-
ical Faculty of Lucerne, a
Roman Catholic Institu-
tion, in cooperation with
the Vatican Commission
on Religious Relations
with the Jews.
The Lucerne conference
was criticized by the Inter-
national Jewish Committee
for Interreligious Consulta-
tions (IJCIC) which was set
up nearly 20 years ago as
the official representative
organization of the man-
ifold voices of World Jewry
and recognized as such by
the Vatican.
IJCIC comprises repre-

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sentatives of the World
Jewish Congress,
Synagogue Council of
America, American Jewish
Committee, ADL, and the
Israel Jewish Council for
Interreligious Consulta-
tions.
The nub of the con-
troversy is that IJCIC
representatives claim that
the AJCongress' new insti-
tute is being used by the
Vatican to circumvent IJ-
CIC. Furthermore, repre-
sentatives of Orthodox
Jewry say they object to any
form of theological
dialogue.
The AJCongress insists
that the institute oper-
ates solely on an aca-
demic level with no re-
presentational character
and does not seek to
usurp the role of IJCIC.

Freedman, in his state-
ment, said:
"The controversy which
has been generated over the
conference sponsored by the
American Jewish Congress
at the University of Lucerne
in co-operation with the
Vatican Commission Reli-
gious Relations with the
Jews is both unwarranted
and overstated.
"While it is correct that
IJCIC and the Vatican
Commission view each
other in a special relation-
ship for discussions on mat-
ters of Jewish concern and
that the consortium of
organizations within IJCIC
constitutes an important
and significant segment of
the Jewish world, there
need not be exclusivity in
that relationship either by
IJCIC or the Vatican.
The Anti-Defamation
League which is a part of
the consultative process
within IJCIC at the same
time reserve for itself and
to other Jewish organiza-
tions the right to engage
in interreligious dialogue
with whatever party they
choose, while at the same
time being aware of and
sensitive to the com-
plexities of the ongoing
discussions with world
church bodies.
"On the question of the
dialogue on theological is-
sues, the Orthodox commu-
nity through its member-
ship to the Synagogue
Council exercises consider-
able influence over IJCIC
decisions as to the topics
within the dialogue with
the Vatican.
"At the same time, it
should be noted that topics
other than social or political
have been included in the
agenda of previous IJCIC/
Vatican consultations
which could be viewed as
theological, without
polemics or medieval dispu-
tations, but rather as a ma-
ture and scholarly exchange
of views."
Informed sources told the
JTA that a letter is being
sent to the Vatican Com-
mission by IJCIC which will
express sentiments of "dis-
may" and "concern" that the
AJCongress: venture "may

be misconstrued as an at-
tempt to break the unity of
the Jewish people."
Freedman, in his
statement, said that to his
knowledge no such let-
ter has been prepared as
yet and the Anti-
Defamation League will
be signatory only after an
appropriate review of its
contents."
The institute came under
fire from other Jewish
organizations after the
news media reported that
Rabbi David Bleich, Tenzer
Professor of Law and Ethics
at Yeshiva University, had
walked out on the insti-
tute's first meeting in
Lucerne.
He was quoted as saying
he had not realized the talks
would be centered on
theological issues. But a
spokesman for the AJCon-
gress told the Jewish Tele-
graphic Agency that "he
was informed beforehand as
to the nature ofthe meeting.
Indeed, Rabbi Bleich's
paper was the theological
centerpiece of the confer-
ence, and presumably he
knew what he was going to
say."
Israel Singer, executive
director of the World Jewish
Congress, and Elan Stein-
berg, director of its Ameri-
can Section, said their ob-
jections to the AJCongress'
venture was twofold.
"First," Singer said,
"nearly 20 years ago, the
Vatican agreed to con-
sider IJCIC as the official
representative organiza-
tion of the manifold
voices of world Jewry.
Since (PLO chief Yasir)
Arafat was received by
the Pope (in the fall of
1982) difficulties have
arisen in the Catholic-
Jewish dialogue.
"It would seem — and we
hope we are wrong — that
the singling out of only one
Jewish organization by the
Vatican as a partner in
dialogue was a political
end-run on their part; and
attempt to circumvent the
IJCIC. This creates serious
assymetry in the relation-
ship."
The second point, Singer
continued, "deals with Or-
thodox Jewry's objection to
theological dialogue. The
question is not whether or
not such dialogue is accept-
able to the majority of Jews,
but that one of our main
constituents finds it unac-
ceptable and that we must
be responsive."
Contacted by the JTA, Dr.
Michael Wyschograd, the
director of the AJCongress'
Institute, stated that a vital
factor was apparently being
overlooked in that, while
the IJCIC, which was
created in 1967 on the in-
itiative of Rabbi Henry
Siegman when he was
executive vice president of
the Synagogue Council of
America, clearly has a re-
presentational character for
world Jewry, the Institute
for Jewish-Catholic Rela-
tions has no such preten-
d ons.. — . i • •

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