Prime Minister Bouffier visits ICCJ

Prime Minister Bouffier’s visit to the Martin Buber House was the culmination of a successful ICCJ Executive Board meeting. The Land of Hesse, one of Germany’s Länder, is an important partner in ICCJ’s activities. Through the International Martin Buber Foundation the Land of Hesse considerably supports the interreligious dialogue work of the ICCJ. To stress the fact that these ties are not merely of a formal nature, the Prime Minster came to Heppenheim to affirm his personal interest in our work.

The meeting of the Executive Board started on Sunday evening. In our opening discussions a main issue was the role of Jewish-Christian dialogue in the over thirty countries our member organizations are active. Conclusion: Jewish-Christian dialogue is not self-evident. It has to prove time and again its relevance against the background of several issues burdening the dialogue such as secularization and the stalemate in the Middle East.

On Monday and Tuesday a wide range of issues was discussed. It was decided to start a new theological project ‘Land, Promise and Hope’. A group of some twenty five scholars, Jews and Christians from several countries and backgrounds, will assist the ICCJ members and the wider public to understand why in the Israel/Palestine conflict, though we all are people of faith and use the same words, we hold so different opinions. The work of the Young Leadership was strongly encouraged as was the revitalized International Abrahamic Forum.

Bouffier Visit

On Tuesday afternoon the Hesse Prime Minster met, to begin with, a small ICCJ delegation in the Martin Buber House. Mr. Bouffier signed the guest book of the Martin Buber House (picture) and was informed about the history of the house and its most famous residents: the Buber family. Then this small delegation moved to the historical Amtshof in the old city of Heppenheim. In a larger meeting the Prime Minister and other prominent guests were told about ICCJ’s world-wide activities. The Prime Minster, ICCJ President Dr Weissman and ICCJ General Secretary Dick Pruiksma signed the Golden Book of the City of Heppenheim.

As third part of the Prime Ministers visit a public event was held in the nearby historical Kurfürstensaal. The Prime Minister and Dr Weissman spoke about the contribution of Germany to interreligious dialogue. Given German history and the present role of Germany in world politics, that is an important item. ICCJ President Weissman reminded us of the multi-layered meaning of the Hebrew word ‘remember’. It does not mean we should get stuck in the past. Remembering the past we have to move forwards. That exactly is what Germany is doing and it is the reason why ICCJ feels welcomed and supported in Germany.