Dialogue is the Word
How Rabbi Rudin spent decades building positive Catholic-Jewish relations throughout the world while fostering interreligious dialogue and understanding...
(RNS) — Nine decades ago today (Jan. 30), Adolf Hitler legally became chancellor of Germany. It’s often forgotten he gained that position without a successful insurrection, a violent coup d’état — or a rigged national election.
But, in fact, in Germany’s legislative election in November 1932, Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers Party — the Nazis — gained only 33.7% of the vote. Even after Hitler became chancellor, in March 1933, his party was still a minority, garnering only 43.9% of the vote.
The election set the stage for a catastrophic world war with tens of millions of deaths, including the mass murders of the Holocaust that nearly destroyed the global Jewish community. It poisoned many political systems with a bitter brew of hate and bigotry and instilled a long-lasting yearning among countless people for anti-democratic totalitarian rule.
Though dogged by a pernicious antisemitic wave, the news from the Jewish world had its share of hopeful moments.
(RNS) — Though dogged by a pernicious antisemitic wave, the news from the Jewish world had its share of hopeful moments and, amid war and a slow recovery from a global pandemic, a few shining moments on the world stage.
Here are the most significant Jewish news stories of the year...
VIDEO: Saint Leo Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies The Investiture Ceremony of Rabbi A. James Rudin as Papal Knight
Pope Francis has conferred upon HUC-JIR alum Rabbi James A. Rudin '60 the Papal Knighthood of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great in recognition of his extraordinary leadership in fostering interreligious relations, dialogue, and understanding for over 60 years. Rabbi Rudin is the third American rabbi, including HUC-JIR alum Rabbi Leon Klenicki '67, and the eighth Jew to receive this highest Vatican honor. It is bestowed by the Pope upon individuals in recognition of their significant contributions to society. The Order of St. Gregory the Great was begun by Pope Gregory XVI (1745-1846) in 1831, and named in honor of St. Gregory the Great, who died in 604, and whose writings greatly influenced the Catholic Church. Bishop Mark O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop of Boston and Vicar General Regional Bishop – North Region, represented the Pope in this ceremony at Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida on November 20, 2022.
Rabbi Rudin's illustrious career has spanned serving as the American Jewish Committee's (AJC) senior interreligious adviser and interreligious affairs director, as a distinguished professor of religion and Judaica at Saint Leo University, and as co-founder of the university's Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies. He was a member of the Camp David Presidential Retreat Chapel Committee and co-founded the National Interreligious Task Forces on Soviet Jewry and Black-Jewish Relations.
Rabbi A. James Rudin Invested as Papal Knight of the Order of St. Gregory in Ceremony at Saint Leo University
Rabbi A. James Rudin is a builder of bridges—bridges of mutual respect, knowledge, and understanding between Christians and Jews. And today (November 20), Rudin became only the third American rabbi in history to be honored with the Papal Knighthood of the Order of St. Gregory for his work in interfaith relations.
In an afternoon ceremony at Saint Leo University, Rudin, one of the co-founders of the university’s Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, received the medal of the Order of St. Gregory from Bishop Mark O’Connell, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston. O’Connell conducted the investiture ceremony on behalf of Pope Francis in recognition of Rudin’s decades of work in building positive Catholic-Jewish relations throughout the world, fostering interreligious dialogue and understanding.
Rudin is the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) senior interreligious adviser, having previously served as its Interreligious Affairs director. He also is a distinguished professor of religion and Judaica at Saint Leo University.
Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston, originally was to conduct the ceremony on behalf of Pope Francis; however, the pope called him to Rome for meetings and he was unable to attend the November 20 event.
Those who have grown up with parents who travel for business knew that their parents were meeting with clients, overseeing businesses and perhaps giving presentations. My dad traveled for business as well. But it was to the Vatican, Camp David, and churches and mosques around the world.
Those growing up as “clergy kids” will agree that it is a different type of childhood. But instead of discussing congregants, synagogue politics and life-cycle events, my sister and I grew up learning about the Oberammergau Passion Play, current and historic Black-Jewish relations, and Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council document adopted in 1965 by the world’s Catholic bishops that has transformed Catholic-Jewish relations.
In a few days, my dad, will receive the highest honor granted by the Vatican to non-Catholics; Pope Francis selected him to become a Knight of St. Gregory the Great. He’ll be the third American rabbi to receive such an honor.
Rabbi A. James Rudin, who headed American Jewish Committee’s pioneering work with the Roman Catholic Church and other faiths for many years, was honored today by Pope Francis with one of the Vatican’s highest awards, the Knight of St. Gregory the Great.
Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston, presented the papal knighthood to Rabbi Rudin on behalf of Pope Francis at a ceremony held at Saint Leo University’s Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies (CCJS). O’Malley expressed the Pope’s heartfelt appreciation and boundless gratitude for Rabbi Rudin’s remarkable contributions to interfaith relations, especially in the Catholic-Jewish domain.
“I am deeply honored that Pope Francis has affirmed the extraordinary importance of Catholic-Jewish dialogue through this award,” said Rabbi Rudin. “That he has continued the Church’s historic commitment to care for the poor and disenfranchised, as my Jewish tradition calls it – tikkun olam – the repair of the world, makes this moment extremely special. I am proud to accept this papal honor while remembering the many colleagues and friends who have been so important on my incredible interreligious journey.”
Rabbi Rudin joined the AJC interreligious staff in 1968, became Director of National Interreligious Affairs in 1983, and retired in 2000.
Rabbi A. James Rudin, a longtime interreligious affairs director for the American Jewish Committee, will be named a Papal Knight of Saint Gregory for his work on Catholic-Jewish relations, one of the few non-Catholics to receive the honor.
Only eight other Jews have been knighted by the order, established in 1831, which recognizes personal service or unusual labor in support of the Catholic Church. Among them are three other rabbis, David Rosen and the late Mordecai Waxman and Leon Klenicki.
Rudin, a Reform rabbi and a writer who has contributed hundreds of columns over the years to Religion News Service, traveled widely, meeting with popes, presidents, Protestant denominational leaders and world-famous evangelists in his efforts to improve Jewish-Christian relations in the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust.
Rabbi James Rudin
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