Melbourne News

Jewish Catholic Friendship Dinner

David Marlow, Friday 9 August 2013
 
The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) and the Ecumenical Interfaith Commission (EIC) hosted the annual Jewish Catholic Friendship Dinner with a record crowd of over 100 people attending the event at the Adele Southwick Hall at St Kilda Shule on Sunday 30 June.

The highlight of this year’s event was a Q&A type panel featuring three Catholic and three Jewish panellists: Emeritus Prof Louis Waller from Monash University, retired Supreme Court Judge The Hon. Howard Nathan, Principal of Bialik College Jeremy Stowe-Lindner, Associate Professor Mary Coloe from the Yarra Theological Union, Member for Monbulk and Deputy Leader of the Opposition James Merlino MP, and Christina Kennedy from Catholic Voices Australia.

Questions from the audience and via Twitter were wide ranging, including the Pope and Jewish-Catholic relations, religion in schools, parole board decisions and sentencing, Jewish-Muslim relations, and addressing racial and religious vilification through legislation.

The Hon. Howard Nathan pointed out that times and relations between the faiths have changed dramatically over the years.  “Thirty years ago, Jews were considered by Catholics as the killers of Christ” and the perceptions have changed dramatically. Assoc. Prof. Mary Coloe pointed out that Pope Francis has said recently “it’s impossible for a Christian to be anti-semitic as Jesus Christ was born a Jew, lived as a Jew and died a Jew.”

Nina Bassat, President of the JCCV said that the dinner was a demonstration of the success of dialogue and friendship building across the Jewish and Catholic faiths: “This was a highly successful event and was highly praised by all who attended.”
 
First published by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria. Reprinted, in an edited form, with permission.
 
Photos by Casamento Photography.