Church and Jewish Community in Scotland establish a 'concentrated dialogue'

The Jewish Community in Scotland and the Church of Scotland have agreed to establish a concentrated dialogue between members of the two communities.

The topics to be discussed in these dialogues include possible areas for collaboration such as education, shared social action, theological similarities and differences, geopolitical matters that affect Jewish-Christian relations such as Israel and Palestine, and antisemitism and joint action to respond to it. It is envisaged that the result of this dialogue might be a joint resource with agreed theological terms and references, including an exploration and examination of differences and diversity in belief and scriptural interpretation, a glossary of theological terms that are widely misunderstood, a protocol for alerting one another of issues that might damage the positive relationship between our communities, and a list of areas of future collaboration.

The group will have around 10 members representing a wide range of views within each community. Among other things the group will seek to address issues arising out of the publication of the Inheritance of Abraham Report and the Church of Scotland’s involvement in the Balfour Project that led to a strain in the relationship. It will meet regularly from autumn of 2016 with a view to producing a report by the autumn of 2017, and a steering group of 3 members from each community has been established to take the proposal forward.

Commenting on the initiative, Rev Richard Frazer, of the Church of Scotland said, “Alongside others from within the Church of Scotland, I am looking forward to embarking on this important piece of work together with our colleagues from within the Jewish community. We hold a great deal in common as people whose shared faith is rooted in the story of Abraham. That faith inspires us to work together for a better world as well as striving for a deeper understanding and greater mutual respect for one another.’

Ephraim Borowski, Director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, added, "we very much welcome this initiative to re-establish the close relationship between the Church of Scotland and the Jewish Community and repair the damage caused in recent years. We look forward to constructive and productive discussions that will have the lasting legacy of resources that will continue to support better understanding for generations to come."