Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation

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The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation
CJCUC Logo.jpg
Abbreviation CJCUC
Motto "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord"
~Isaiah 1:18
Formation 2008; 7 years ago (2008)
Founder Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin
Location
Services Jewish-Christian relations
& Bible study center
Executive Director
David Nekrutman
Academic Director
Rabbi Eugene Korn, PhD.
Director of Operations
Limor Riskin
Parent organization
Ohr Torah Stone
Website www.cjcuc.com

The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation or CJCUC is an educational institution at which Christians who tour Israel can study the Hebrew Bible with Orthodox rabbis and learn about the Hebraic roots of Christianity. The center was established in Efrat in 2008 by Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin, who has developed a reputation as "the most prominent rabbinic spokesperson to Christian Zionists".[1] CJCUC partners with major Christian interfaith organizations such as Christians United for Israel and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.[1] Its mission is rooted in Isaiah 1:18: "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord".

History[edit]

The ideological groundwork, which lead to the eventual establishment of CJCUC in 2008, began to take shape almost 50 years beforehand. In 1964, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the teacher and mentor of CJCUC's Chancellor and Founder, Shlomo Riskin, published an essay entitled "Confrontation"[2] in which he expounded his views on interfaith dialogue and carefully drew out guidelines which permitted such a dialogue and, in the view of Riskin, not only permitted it but rendered it necessary.

At around the same time, fundamental ideological shifts were forming within the ranks of the Catholic Church and a year after Soloveitchik's essay was published, The Holy See issued Nostra aetate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions. Nostra aetate absolved the Jews from the Crucifixion of Jesus and admitted that religious antisemitism had a significant role in laying the foundation for the atrocities perpetrated against the Jewish people.

Riskin's academic plunge into Jewish-Christian relations began in the early 1960s when he attended seminars, held by Professor David Flusser, about the Christian Gospels at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As an Orthodox Jew, he could pinpoint the parallels for Jesus' teachings within the Hebrew scripture.[3]

After settling in Efrat, Riskin began to engage with the Christian world. Most of the Christian visitors to Efrat, those who came to hear and learn, were Evangelicals. He formed relations with Rev. Robert Stearns of Eagles' Wings and with Pastor John Hagee, the controversial far-right Christian Zionist leader. When Riskin confronted Hagee with the question about his love for the Jewish nation, "Do you love us because you want to convert us?" Hagee replied, "I love you because of Genesis 12:3 when the Lord says to Abraham, 'I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you'. I want to be blessed and not cursed, Rabbi".[4] Hagee's organization believes that Jews must live in the Land of Israel for the Rapture to occur, after which they will convert or perish.

Mission[edit]

Since its establishment in 2008, CJCUC has nurtured positive communication between two faith communities using Bible text study as the medium to accomplish its goal. The Center highlights the theological and historical significance of the Land of Israel, which favors the far right's rejection of the peace process.[5]

CJCUC hosts Christian groups from all over the world for all-day seminars,[6][7] which include tours of biblical sites such as nearby Jerusalem, the Path of the Patriarchs and the Herodian wells. Among the subjects that the seminar series includes are Jewish-Christian Relations; the Theology of Biblical Holidays; Covenant & Mission; The Ten Commandments; Satan, Evil & Free Will; Judaism and the Ministry of Jesus; and Human Life Created in the Image of God.

The center runs educational seminars for students and faculty of Catholic and Protestant seminaries in the United States, Canada, and Europe. It has appointed North American and European directors to coordinate relations with religious leaders on these continents.

CJCUC has established a Theological Think Tank, the Institute for Theological Inquiry (ITI),[8] headed by Rabbi Eugene Korn and Dr. Robert Jenson of the Witherspoon Institute, which consists of international scholars and theologians whose tasks are to clarify areas of Jewish and Christian theological agreement and disagreement,[9] as well as identify areas of fruitful cooperation. The topics focus on past and present Jewish-Christian Relations, Covenant, Salvation, Biblical Hermeneutics, Religion and Violence, Ethical Monotheism, and Messianism.

CJCUC has received funds from Israel's Hertog family, Paul Singer Foundation, Zion's Gate International Foundation, Ministry of Justice, and John Hagee Ministries to help accomplish its mission.

Accomplishments[edit]

CJCUC accomplishments include:

  • Taking Latin American priests and rabbis to learn the fundamentals of Jewish-Catholic relations in the backdrop of the Holy Land.[7][10]
  • Sponsoring an interfaith Latin American clergy mission that visited the Ziv Medical Center in Safed, Israel, donating supplies to wounded Syrian civil war refugees.[11][12]
  • It created the first food voucher program to help financially disadvantaged Christian Arabs living in the Land.
  • CJCUC partnered with Christians United for Israel to bring 30 Evangelical pastors from the U.S. to learn the fundamentals of Jewish-Christian relations.[13]
  • In January 2012, CJCUC received the honorary title of Goodwill Ambassador for Jewish-Christian Relations from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In his letter, the prime minister writes: ”I believe you are uniquely suited to be an Ambassador of Goodwill for the State of Israel to strengthen relations between Jews and Christians throughout the world. I know that you will continue to promote understanding between Jews and Christians in a spirit of mutual respect that will enable both to work together to better mankind.”
  • It has facilitated and sponsored a Yale University student group consisting of Orthodox Jewish and Evangelical Christians to learn the fundamentals of Jewish-Christian relations.[14]
  • CJCUC is on the official body between the Holy See and the Jewish people via IJCIC.[15] In January 2011 Riskin had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI,[16] and in June 2013, CJCUC's Academic Director Rabbi Eugene Korn along with other members of the organized Jewish establishment, met with Pope Francis.[17]
  • CJCUC's Executive Director, David Nekrutman, was accepted into the Oral Roberts University online Graduate Theology program.[18] In 2011 Nekrutman spoke to Korean Christians at a pro-Israel rally held in Seoul.[19] Nekrutman was the first Orthodox Jew to speak at the Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) conference and discuss the importance of visiting Israel. In April 2012, he was the main speaker at CUFI's first international event in Nairobi where over 1,500 Africans attended to support Israel.

In October 2013 Nekrutman published a controversial appeal for funds from Jews to support the purchase of a permanent site for the Christian-Arab church of Pastor Steven Khoury.[20][21]

In February 2013 CJCUC co-sponsored the visit of more than 160 pastors to Israel through the Christians United for Israel organization.[22]

In October 2014 Riskin became the first Orthodox rabbi to invite Christian visitors to Israel to participate in a "praise rally" with Jewish interfaith leaders at the Center's headquarters during the holiday of Sukkot.[23] For Sukkot 2012, he hosted a seminar for Christian visitors.[24]

In January 2015, CJCUC founder, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin along with CJCUC's Executive Director, David Nekrutman, addressed a group of 400 pastors and rabbis at a symposium held in Broward County, Florida.[25]

In February 2015, on a visit to Oklahoma, Rabbi Riskin unveiled plans for historic high school curricula, being worked on in a joint effort with the government of Israel, detailing advancements in Jewish-Christian relations.[26]

In March 2015 he launched the Day to Praise global initiative calling out to Christians world-wide to join him in reciting Hallel (Psalms 113-118) to praise God on Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel's Independence Day).[27][28][29][30][31][32]

Staff[edit]

  • Shlomo Riskin, founder
  • David Nekrutman, executive director
  • Eugene Korn, academic director
  • Angel Kreiman-Brill (1945-2014), Latin American director[33]
  • Limor Riskin, director of operations

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Shapiro, Faydra L. (2012). "The Messiah and Rabbi Jesus: Policing the Jewish–Christian border in Christian Zionism". Culture and Religion: An Interdisciplinary Journal 12 (4): 463–477. doi:10.1080/14755610.2011.633537. 
  2. ^ Confrontation, Tradition 6:2 p5-9, 1964. Reprinted in "A Treasury of Tradition", Hebrew Publishing Co, NY, 1967. - OCLC 1974913
  3. ^ Shabat HaGadol – translated from Hebrew – page 15
  4. ^ Shabat HaGadol – translated from Hebrew – page 18
  5. ^ CJCUC Statement on a Jewish Understanding of Christians and Christianity - Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations - May 24, 2011
  6. ^ "Riskin to launch interfaith center". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 29 May 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "WJC co-sponsors Israel trip of Latin American priests". World Jewish Congress. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "CJCUC Announces the Publication of Covenant & Hope" - standardnewswire.com - August 10, 2012
  9. ^ Covenant and Hope - Christian and Jewish Reflections - Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. - July 2012 - ISBN 978-0802867049
  10. ^ Danan, Deborah (3 March 2012). Priestly Blessings "Latin American Catholics and Jews share a trip to the Holy Land to bridge gaps". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  11. ^ "Latin American clergy mission visits Syrian refugees in Israeli hospital". jns.org. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  12. ^ "Latin American clergy visit Syrian refugees in Israeli hospital". The Bristol Press. 23 May 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  13. ^ "Jews and Christian Evangelicals work to improve communication". Deseret News. 28 June 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  14. ^ "HHCC Makes Statement on Christian-Jewish Relations". Hebraic Heritage Christian Center. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  15. ^ "CJCUC Joins IJCIR As Partner". Christian Newswire. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  16. ^ "Rabbi and Pope discuss Jewish-Christian cooperation in Israel". Catholic News Agency. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  17. ^ "Pope Francis meets the Jewish delegation". Embassy of Israel to the Holy See. 24 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Garber, Mckensie (Spring 2014). "Online Learning Reaches Into Holy Land". Excellence Magazine (Oral Roberts University): 13. 
  19. ^ "Thousands Celebrate Israel in Seoul, Korea". The Jerusalem Connection. 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  20. ^ Nekrutman, David (October 2013). "A Call to Action". The Jerusalem Post Christian Edition. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  21. ^ "Director of Rabbi Riskin's Interfaith Center Appeals for Funding to Build Church in Jerusalem". Jewish Israel. 27 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  22. ^ "CUFI Takes More than 160 Pastors to Israel (press release)". Christians United for Israel. 26 February 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  23. ^ "Hundreds of Christians Joined Rabbi Riskin to Celebrate Sukkot". Christian Newswire. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  24. ^ Black, John (9 October 2012). "Efrat Tour: A Rabbinic View on the 'End of Days'". International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  25. ^ Glassman, Marvin (26 January 2015). "Riskin: Interfaith dialogue critical". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  26. ^ Shelden, Darla (25 February 2015). "Rabbi Riskin announces historic curriculum for Israeli schools during visit to Oklahoma". City-Sentinel. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  27. ^ "Rabbi Riskin Launches 'Day to Praise' Initiative". Christian Newswire. 3 March 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  28. ^ Poch, Raphael (23 March 2015). "“Day to Praise” Calls on Christians, Jews Worldwide to Unite in Prayer". Breaking Israel News. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  29. ^ "Calling on Christians and Jews to Recite ‘Hallel’ on Israeli Independence Day". Breaking Israel News. 22 March 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  30. ^ Nekrutman, David (23 March 2015). "A Day to Praise: Join Israel in Thanking God For His Continuous Protection". Charisma Magazine. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  31. ^ Mitchell, Chris (23 March 2015). "Day to Praise Initiative". CBN News. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  32. ^ Darg, Christine (29 March 2015). "THIS IS HISTORIC! “Day to Praise” Calls on Christians & Jews Worldwide to Unite in Prayer". Jerusalem Channel (jerusalemchannel.tv). Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  33. ^ Weissman, Dr. Deborah (1 September 2014). "Rabbi Angel Kreiman-Brill zl (1945-2014)". International Council of Christians and Jews. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 

External links[edit]