Letter from the President

As I take this opportunity to wish our members and friends a healthy and happy festival season — this year, Pesach (Passover) and both Eastern and Western Easter coincide — I realize that it is my last such message as President of the ICCJ.

In August in Buenos Aires, after six years, I will step down and someone else will be elected to this position. I will, of course, continue to be involved as Immediate Past President, but with far less responsibility.

This is not the appropriate forum for a summary of the last six years, but they have certainly been full and challenging. In our Berlin Document booklet, A Time for Recommitment, I wrote an article entitled, “The Long and Bumpy Road.” I wrote: “The road of Jewish-Christian dialogue is not only long and winding, but full of bumps…”  In Deuteronomy 12:9, it says, “…you have not yet reached the resting place and the inheritance…”  We cannot really rest yet from our work — we still have too far to go.
But we can and should stop along the way to celebrate, to acknowledge that we’ve come a long way, to be rejuvenated and renewed. A most appropriate occasion for that is the upcoming season of Pesach and Easter. Both have egg symbolism, both celebrate rebirth and renewal, liberation. Both festivals teach us that there is a possibility for change in the life of an individual or a society. Just because a people have been enslaved for hundreds of years -- that doesn’t mean that they cannot become liberated. The late Rabbi David Hartman called God “the God of surprises.” What was isn’t always what must be. As we quoted Bishop Mounib Younan in our document from last May, “As long as you believe in a living God, you must have hope.”

In life, we must try to strike a healthy balance between stability and tradition, on the one hand, and change or transition, on the other.
Wishing you a time of both tradition and renewal — and all the best
Debbie Weissman, Jerusalem; President, ICCJ