Now, more than 60 years later, the International Council of Christians and Jews issues a new call―this one to both Christian and Jewish communities around the world. It commemorates the anniversary of the Seelisberg gathering, which was also the genesis of the International Council of Christians and Jews. Today’s call reflects the need to refine the Ten Points of Seelisberg, consistent with the advances in interreligious dialogue since that groundbreaking document of 1947.
This new call contains 12 points―presented as goals, and addressed to Christians and Jews, and to Christian and Jewish communities together. After listing the 12 points and several specific tasks for each one, the document reviews the history of the relationship between Christians and Jews, which has provided the contextual framework and impetus for our initiative.
We members of the International Council of Christians and Jews speak together in this new call as active members of our traditions with a centuries-long history of alienation, hostility and conflict, punctuated by instances of persecution and violence against Jews in Christian-dominated Europe, as well by as moments of graciousness and mutual recognition from which we can take inspiration.
Spurred by the Seelisberg initiative, we have worked to overcome the legacy of prejudice, hatred and mutual distrust. Through a serious commitment to dialogue, self-critical examination of our texts and traditions, and joint study and action for justice, we better understand each other, accept each other in the fullness of our differences, and affirm our common humanity. We understand that Jewish-Christian relations are not a “problem” that is going to be “solved,” but rather a continuing process of learning and refinement. Perhaps most important, we have found friendship and trust. We have sought and found light together.
The journey has been neither simple nor easy. We have encountered many obstacles and setbacks, including conflicts—some quite serious—over theological or historical developments. But our determination to pursue the dialogue in spite of difficulties, to communicate honestly, and to assume our partners’ good will has helped us stay the course. For these reasons, we believe that the history, the challenges, and the accomplishments of our dialogue are relevant for all those who are dealing with intergroup and interreligious conflicts.
In that spirit, we issue this call to Christian and Jewish communities around the world.
A Time for Recommitment: The Twelve Points of Berlin