Christians and Jews in Dialogue: Learning in the Presence of the Other
by Mary C. Boys and Sara S. Lee
Woodstock, Vermont, U.S.A.: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2006
200 pp., $21.99
Mary C. Boys, Professor of Practical Theology at Union Theological Seminary, New York, and Sara S. Lee, Director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles, have teamed up to write this fascinating story of their own journey as partners in Christian-Jewish dialogue, which serves at the same time as a guide to others who want to enter into the same experience.
Dr. Boys, a member of the Society of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, is the author of the acclaimed Has God Only One Blessing? Judaism as a Source of Christian Self-Understanding (2000), and Dr. Lee has edited several works on Jewish education. They have been friends for some 20 years, and have collaborated on numerous projects of what they call "interreligious learning," which they define as "study in the presence of the religious other and an encounter with the tradition that the other embodies." Such study, they testify, results in a deepened understanding of one"s own tradition as well. Both professional educators, they offer many useful suggestions for how to go about this in smaller or larger groups.
In the chapter "Mary"s Story," Dr. Boys describes growing up in an almost entirely Catholic environment in Seattle, Washington, and how she first got to know Jews personally. "Sara"s Story" tells the same story in reverse, of how she grew up in a heavily Jewish neighborhood in Boston and only later got know any Christians personally. The book includes an account of the authors" journey together to Israel in 1997 and to Auschwitz in 2004, and what it meant for each of them. They offer an illuminating perspective on historical as well as contemporary developments in the Christian-Jewish dialogue.