Catholic Cardinals, Jewish Rabbis Meet in New York

A group of eight Roman Catholic cardinals from Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America met with Jewish rabbis and scholars from Europe, Israel, and North and South America in a "World Symposium of Catholic Cardinals and Jewish Leaders" held in New York on January 19-20, 2004. The meeting was initiated by Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger of Paris and hosted by the World Jewish Congress. Participants included Cardinals Philippe Barbarin (France), Christoph Schonborn (Austria), Ivan Dias (India), Alexandre do Nascimento (Angola), Marc Ouellet (Canada), Francis E. George (USA), and Theodore E. McCarrick (USA), as well as other Catholic scholars and leaders. Jewish participants included former Chief Rabbi Meir Lau of Israel, Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim of Paris, Chief Rabbi Jacob Dov Bleich of Ukraine, Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt of Moscow, Chief Rabbi Henry I. Sobel of Brazil, and Rabbi Adin Steinsalz of Israel. The meeting was held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan, and included a visit to the nearby Ground Zero as well as to Yeshiva University, an Orthodox Jewish institution headed by Rabbi Norman Lamm. While not officially sponsored by the Vatican, the symposium received greetings from high Vatican officials, including Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  Participants in the meeting stated that its aim was not to discuss doctrine or policy but to build relationships and to offer these Catholic and Jewish leaders an opportunity to speak face to face. Representatives of both communities were asked to address the question, "Which is the greatest commandment?"

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