Introduction to the educational guide

We are offering for your programmatic purposes an educational guide to the Berlin Document, "A Time for Re-commitment: Building the New Relationship between Jews and Christians" which has been developed by Jewish and Christian scholars and educators. In developing the material, we had in mind the local CCJ's around the world, but it can be implemented by individuals or groups, youth or adults, unireligious or inter-religious settings, congregations and schools, etc.

Although the guide focuses on the 12 Calls, we sincerely suggest that you read through the entire document - the narrative history, "The Story of the Transformation of a Relationship," as well as the various prefaces, appended essays, and, especially, the "Ten Points of Seelisberg" referenced in the first educational unit of the guide. As many of you know, the writing of our Berlin Document began to mark the 60th anniversary of that pioneering statement.

The material presented here can be used over the course of time for study and discussion. You can take the 12 Calls and study them in small groups of two or three (in traditional Jewish contexts, this method is called "Chavruta", the Aramaic word for a "study partner.") The small groups can then be re-convened for a plenary conversation, in which insights and questions are shared. You can take a paragraph or two, put them in the center of the page, and put various commentaries/interpretations around the margins (as in a classical Jewish text), alternate formulations, objections and questions. For each of the 12 Calls, we will provide additional material for reflection and discussion, suggestions for background reading, practical ideas for programs, etc.

We are proud of the Berlin Document, but we recognize that it was produced by human beings and is, therefore, by definition, partial and imperfect. You may find yourself disagreeing with parts of it. Some readers have already shared these disagreements with us and we appreciate that. The Berlin Document represents a specific peak moment in what has been - and continues to be - a very dynamic process. It is possible that in the future, the Document may be changed or updated on the occasion of another important anniversary for Christian-Jewish relations. But for now, it is much more important to us that people around the world should know about the statement, study it and use it, rather than that they should be satisfied with every single formulation in it.

We wish you a fascinating and productive use of the document...


... indicates some suggestions for background reading

... indicates questions and suggestions for discussion

... indicates quotations and commentaries