Lines of Communication: Jews and the Vatican

Inbal Freund-Novick is an organizational consultant and co-founder of The Unmasked Comics Project, a social change comics venture with comics artist Chari Pere. After spending a year as a visiting fellow at JPPPI (The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute), she currently serves in the World Jewish Diplomatic Corps of the World Jewish Congress.

inbal freund-novickFreund-Novick is a participant in Discovering Common Values: The Catholic-Jewish Leadership Conference, hosted by the Vatican and held at the Pope’s summer palace of Castel Gandolfo. She leaves Israel Saturday night, and all next week, she’ll be blogging about it here. This is her introduction.

Let me tell you what I like most about conferences: The Corridor.

I love the corridor. Everything else that goes on at a conference is important. It all has to be organized properly so that people can present the content they’ve prepared. But mostly, in conferences, being a participant is like watching a theater production that was already prepared beforehand. Or, as I was told once by Professor Yehezkel Dror, “You learn the most from reading.†This means that conferences are out there for something else: standing in the corridor, getting to know others.

A few months ago I was invited to an interfaith dialogue conference in Kazan, a city in the republic of Tatarstan, Russia, run by the Council of Europe. It was called for the stated purpose of getting to know each other and to create an action plan, which would aim to “develop proposals and identify concrete actions for promoting and sustaining intercultural and inter-religious dialogue with and by young people.â€

Following that conference, I started leading an interfaith dialogue task force. As a result, I was invited to the conference in Castel Gandolfo, the summer palace of the Pope, which begins this Sunday.

The conference in Castel Gandolfo is an attempt to create a discourse between the younger leadership of Jews and Catholics. The Catholics who will be our hosts come from the Focolare movement, a more egalitarian sect of Catholics (or, as explained to us by Rabbi David Rosen, the neo-Chasidic movement in Catholicism).

Posted on June 19, 2009

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