The following statement was presented to the Congregation by Rabbi Kelman on Adar II, 5760 (March 18, 2000) VaYikra. It is a statement in response to the Roman Catholic church's wide sweeping apology for past transgressions against Jews (and others) and statement that our covenant with God is irrevocable.
This Joint Statement was issued today by the Rabbinical Assembly and the Central Conference of American Rabbis: The Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform) and The Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative), representing 3,000 rabbis, wish to recognize and acknowledge the growing bonds between the Jewish and Catholic communities. We praise Pope John Paul II's courageous strides in working to heal the historic breach that has separated our communities. The Pope has affirmed the irrevocable nature of God's covenant with the Jewish people. He has condemned anti-Semitism as a 'sin against God.' He has forged diplomatic relations with Israel, recognizing the Jewish State's right to exist within secure borders. He has called upon Christendom to engage in 'teshuva'; for the atrocities of the Holocaust. He has apologized for the excesses of the Crusades and the Inquisition. He has opposed Christian mission-izing toward the Jews, instead urging the intensification of Jewish piety. In this context, we welcome and applaud Pope John Paul II's historic liturgy of forgiveness, presented to the global community of Catholics this past Sunday. Borrowing from the Pope's terminology, we call upon our rabbinic constituents to engage in intensified dialogue and fellowship with our Roman Catholic neighbors. At this historic moment of the first papal pilgrimage to the sovereign Jewish State, may the inspiring leadership of Pope John Paul II lead us toward greater reconciliation, friendship and partnership in effecting tikkun olam.
Rabbi Seymour Essrog, President, The Rabbinical Assembly
Rabbi Charles Kroloff, President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Paul Menitoff, Executive Vice President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Joel Meyers, Executive Vice President, The Rabbinical Assembly