Scottish Council of Jewish Communites
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

 
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

SCoJeC welcomes
Kirk withdrawal of Assembly report

 
12 May 2013
Click here to read SCoJeC's concerns about the
Church of Scotland report The Inheritance of Abraham?
here to read a statement issued by SCoJeC and the Board of Deputies in response to the Church of Scotland's revised report, issued on 17 May

here to read SCoJeC's statement following the General Assembly debate

and here to read a briefing on Jewish community concerns about the report

Following protests from SCoJeC and others to the Church of Scotland about the Church and Society Council report on The Inheritance of Abraham?, the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) arranged a meeting last week between representatives of the Church and the Jewish Community.

The Kirk’s delegation included the Moderator, the Principal Clerk, and the Convener, Vice-Convener, and Secretary of the Church and Society Council; the Jewish community was represented by the Director of SCoJeC, the Chair of the Defence and Group Relations Committee and the Interfaith Consultant of the Board of Deputies, the chair of the West of Scotland CCJ who is a former Chair of SCoJeC and President of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, the head of the Movement for Reform Judaism, and the Rabbi of the Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation.

The meeting took place over a kosher lunch at the Church headquarters in Edinburgh, and began with prayers from both traditions.  The atmosphere was cordial, and the discussion of the concerns that had been expressed was frank.  The Church representatives accepted that the report had given cause for concern, and acknowledged that some of the language used was unfortunate, and that the report would require to be revised.

After the formal meeting concluded with the all the participants reciting the Priestly Benediction in Hebrew and English, the following joint statement was issued:

The Church of Scotland and representatives of the Jewish Community in Scotland and the United Kingdom, held useful discussions facilitated by the Council of Christians and Jews this afternoon. We agreed that the drafting of the report published by the Church and Society Council for discussion at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has given cause for concern and misunderstanding of its position and requires a new introduction to set the context for the report and give clarity about some of the language used.

In particular the Church of Scotland needs to be explicit about some things that are implicit policies of the Church:-

There is no change in the Church of Scotland's long held position of the right of Israel to exist.

The Church condemns all violence and acts of terrorism, where ever they happen in the world.

The concern of the Church about the injustices faced by the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories remain firm, but that concern should not be misunderstood as questioning the right of the State of Israel to exist.

That the Church condemns all things that create a culture of anti semitism.

There is an equal sense of concern amongst both communities for justice and peace for all the people of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Sitting round the table and listening to each other more deeply has created a real opportunity for both communities to better understand each other and that this report now becomes a catalysis for continued and growing conversation.

The two communities have agreed to work together both here and in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to continue what was a very positive dialogue.

The original report was also removed from the Church website, and the link redirected to this joint statement.

Welcoming the outcome of the meeting, SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski said:
“We were very gratified by the seriousness with which the representatives of the Kirk treated our concerns about the deficiencies of their document, and are grateful to the CCJ for facilitating this meeting.  The speed with which the Church acted to remove the original text from their website is a clear indication of their good will, and their intention to repair the damage this has caused to interfaith relations not just in Scotland but internationally.  We now look forward to a revised document which eliminates the bias, the supersessionism, the selective quotation, and the misrepresentation of main-stream Jewish belief, and which gives due weight to both 2000 years of to Jewish prayer for the return to Zion, and to contemporary Jewish experience in Scotland.”

Click here to read SCoJeC's letter to the
Church of Scotland following the meeting
 
Click here to read SCoJeC's concerns about the
Church of Scotland report The Inheritance of Abraham?
here to read a statement issued by SCoJeC and the Board of Deputies in response to the Church of Scotland's revised report, issued on 17 May

here to read SCoJeC's statement following the General Assembly debate

and here to read a briefing on Jewish community concerns about the report

 

   
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