Manchester Nostra Aetate Celebrations

May 19th, International faith-leader, Rabbi David Rosen, held 200 people in Manchester Town Hall spellbound on Tuesday 12 May as he spoke vividly on the religious revolution prompted by the Catholic Christian statement, Nostra Aetate.

There was a great demand for tickets to hear him also engage with the Roman Catholic Bishop of Salford, Rt Revd John Arnold, the Church of England Bishop of Manchester, Rt Revd David Walker, and local Jewish community representative, Rabbi Arnold Saunders – Rabbi Emeritus of Higher Crumpsall and Higher Broughton Hebrew Congregation – on the ensuing transformation of Christian-Jewish and inter-faith relationships.

He stressed that Nostra Aetate was unique.  No other religious community had changed its mind so whole-heartedly about another the way the Catholic Christian community had changed its mind about Judaism, in recognising Jewish people as sisters and brothers under one God.  Vigorous discussion followed, led from the floor, with questions about future challenges, contemporary antisemitism, Catholic education, missionary work, proselytisation and social projects.

The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Sue Cooley, welcomed Rabbi Rosen to the city, saying that his impressive international C.V. made him uniquely qualified to speak about the 50th anniversary of “Nostra Aetate”s publication.

The meeting was organised by the Manchester branch of the Council of Christians and Jews.  The context was set by a tribute paid at the beginning by the Lord Mayor to Manchester CCJ founder-member, Barbara Aubrey, presenting her with a bouquet of flowers to mark her 100th birthday.  Barbara had been on the branch committee from the moment it began in 1942 (over a cup of tea in Manchester’s Midland Hotel) to the present day, where she is a President Emerita.  In her life-time, she has seen the sea-change in Jewish-Christian relations that Nostra Aetate demonstrated – and a solitary cup of tea become an international movement taking in 38 countries.

A delighted Barbara Aubrey said on Tuesday, “I am an ambassador for CCJ,” and she encouraged everyone there to share its aims and become a member.

Editorial remarks

Source: The Council of Christians and Jews, Great Britain.