Jewish-Christian Relations in a Global Context: Experiences in Zimbabwe
The pandemic has shown us how interconnected we are as a global community. What does it “look like” to engage in Jewish-Christian relations in a non-Western context? In September 2019, Rabbi David Sandmel and his wife, Janet Raffel, joined Sister Celia Deutsch in Harare, Zimbabwe at the invitation of Holy Trinity College and its rector, Fr. Sylvester Kansimbi. David and Celia co-taught a course on the Gospel of Matthew and its Jewish context. David presented lectures comparing Jewish and Christian theology to three academic audiences and a large Catholic parish.
Many had never met Jews. Religion is a major influence in the local culture, and Janet, a strategic advisor for NGOs, worked with Dr. Julias Togarepi, a professor at Holy Trinity and Catholic University of Zimbabwe on how to integrate interreligious dialogue with his peace and reconciliation work.
Fr. Sylvester and the Americans visited remnants of the white Jewish community and celebrated Shabbat with the indigenous Lemba Jewish community.
These experiences, plus many informal conversations made for a varied and rich experience. The Americans, as do all residents, had to navigate Zimbabwe’s repressive political context in our dialogue. The Americans grew in awareness of the continuing influence of tribal identity and traditional religion, and the impact of colonialism. They were humbled at being told of the importance of “outsiders” coming to Zimbabwe in these troubled times.
In this session we will tell our stories about our ongoing collaboration and how it continues to expand our understanding of interfaith relations. Our audience will have an opportunity to discuss and reflect on our dreams for a post-pandemic world and for global approaches to interfaith dialogue.
Join us on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 6 pm UTC