I hope you are safe and well. This week our presidents continue with their virtual pilgrimage and you can hear from presidents Rabbi Joseph Dweck and Revd Dr Hugh Osgood as they continue to demonstrate support for key workers on the frontline, supporting our communities. We are delighted that so many are following our Presidents Pilgrimage in lockdown and we look forward to more contributions in the coming weeks.
This week CCJ ran two national events. The first was with alumni of CCJ study tours to Israel and Palestine, with guest speaker, journalist and author of ‘Letters to my Palestinian Neighbour’, Yossi Klein Halevi. It was lovely to see so many of our alumni at the event and we look forward to organising other events with voices from the region. Later in the week we ran an event for Rabbis and Clergy entitled: Innovation and Imagination in Isolation: Jewish and Christian Clergy Responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic. It gave the group an opportunity to share pastoral experience as well as discuss changes in ritual and practice during covid. You can read a reflection reflection on this very important meeting below, from Revd Dr Nathan Eddy.
Its so good to see that branches are meeting virtually and I'm looking forward to virtual coffee and cake with branch chairs in the coming month to talk about the current challenges and opportunities in branches around the UK. Both Nathan and I would also like to offer ourselves as speakers to any branch that may wish to host us in the next weeks and months. Below is the third in our series of Root and Branch, featuring voices from our branches. This week its Father Jeremy Howard from CCJ Birmingham. Today Christian members and friends celebrate Ascension Day (or the Feast of the Ascension). We wish you a prayerful day as you look towards Pentecost.
I recently read in the Talmud (Tractate Shabbat p.63) a story that seemed prescient for us today. The Rabbis recall a time before the destruction of Jerusalem when cinnamon trees would be burnt and their fragrance would waft throughout the land of Israel. We then turn to a depiction of Jerusalem destroyed, where only a tiny piece of cinnamon bark remains in the vault of the then queen Tzimzemai. The story reminds us how in times of plenty we take so much that is beautiful and plentiful for granted and how things can change so swiftly from plenty to almost nothing. During lockdown we have lost our freedom in some sense but we have also learnt to treasure those things that perhaps we took for granted. We have also learnt to appreciate the natural world, that sometime passes us by in normal times.
This week our Presidents continued their virtual “pilgrimages”
Over the coming weeks our Presidents will use their daily exercise to thank key workers at their places of work and to express Jewish and Christian prayerful solidarity. This week Rabbi Joseph Dweck, Senior Rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community, and the Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, Moderator of the Free Churches, walked to sites near their homes. Rabbi Dweck gave thanks for supermarket workers and Revd Dr Osgood paid tribute to teachers and classroom assistants.
Last week the project was launched by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg and the Rt Revd Colin Sinclair. In the coming weeks they will be "joined" in their virtual pilgrimages by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop Justin Welby, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Archbishop Nikitas, and Rabbi Charley Baginsky.
In sharing these videos we pray: 'Though at this time physical distancing keeps us apart, we remain close together in prayer and loving kindness.'
You can watch Rabbi Joseph Dweck’s "pilgrimage" here.
You can watch the Revd Dr Hugh Osgood’s "pilgrimage" here.
Pictured: Rabbi Joseph Dweck prayers for key workers outside his local supermarket
Root and Branch: episode 3
Our Root and Branch series shares reflections from across CCJ's networks. In this episode Fr Jeremy Howard, CCJ Birmingham, shares thoughts from Pope Francis and Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni on how we can shape a better post-pandemic world.
Innovation and Imagination in Isolation: Jewish and Christian Clergy Responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Nearly 60 rabbis and Christian clergy gathered on Wednesday afternoon to reflect on their experience leading communities through the Covid-19 pandemic. This was the first meeting of the Rabbi-Clergy Network since the Rabbi-Clergy Conference scheduled for March, an eagerly awaited event which was cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns. Encouraged by the reflections of Rabbi David Mason and Revd Val Reid, the sharing was honest and profound, in small groups and in the plenary sessions. Revd Reid encouraged the group not to be afraid of ‘being real’ rather than slickly professional in Zoom worship settings. Rabbi Mason noted the tension between law (halakha) and compassion during the crisis in his Orthodox perspective.
In another section of the event, speaker Dr Josh Edelman, a theatre lecturer in Manchester, compared Zoom worship experimentation to theatre without a script. Dr Alana Vincent (University of Chester) and Dr Edelman discussed their research project, recording the diverse responses of faith communities to the crisis. As the discussion host Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave noted, participants were drawn from all corners of the UK as well as Ireland. The afternoon ended, somewhat surprisingly, with the impromptu singing of folk songs, accompanied by an accordion. It was a remarkable event, and one which CCJ will build again soon.
Pictured: Event speakers Rev Val Reid and Rabbi David Mason
Your Window View
Many thanks to Sally Guthrie for sending us these photos.
Looking for a fun and inductive introduction to Biblical Hebrew this month? Join CCJ members and friends from across the country in a unique course which integrates Biblical Hebrew basics with some Modern Hebrew phrases and songs. The course is designed as a 'taster' for those may who want to commit to a longer course together, and will cover the alphabet, syllables, and noun formation, giving you confidence to begin reading.
Instructor Revd Dr Nathan Eddy has taught beginning Hebrew at St Mellitus College, London, in the classics summer school at UCL and King's College, and to Jewish and Christian private students, and enjoys opening up the world of Hebrew for first-time students. This course will also feature a live presentation via Zoom by Dr Lily Kahn, lecturer at UCL, on 'Hebrew through the centuries'. Dr Kahn's Introductory Course in Biblical Hebrew (Routledge, 2014) informs this course but is not necessary to buy for this taster series.
Thursdays, 10-11 a.m., on 28 May, 4 June, 11 June, 18 June.
To register for the course, please email Nathan Eddy by Monday 25 May
Applications open for 2020-21 Campus Leadership Programme
CCJ is recruiting Student Leaders to create interfaith projects which meet the needs of their universities. Through the programme students develop the leadership skills needed to be interfaith leaders at their universities and beyond. This year the programme will begin remotely with online interfaith training in September, and will support students to create interfaith initiatives which respond to new ways of doing university.
For more information on the programme and how to apply, please contact Campus Leadership Manager Katharine Crew
Applications for 2020 Yad Vashem Seminar extended until
The application window for CCJ’s annual seminar at the International School of Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem has been extended until 1 June. The seminar—which will take place Monday 12 to Thursday 22 October 2020—is open to ordained Christian clergy and lay church leaders. Now in its 14th year, the seminar is a unique opportunity for church leaders to learn about the Holocaust, pre-war Jewish European life, and post-Holocaust theology from the world’s leading experts. In doing so, participants will become part of our active network of over 250 "alumni" across the UK, committed to passing on Holocaust learning in their churches and communities, championing Christian-Jewish relations, and challenging antisemitism.
For more information on the programme and how to apply, please contact Senior Programme Manager, Rob Thompson, at email@example.com
Following our successful Zoom session with Nathan Eddy, Birmingham CCJ is offering two online meetings focussing on Abraham. Rabbi Margaret Jacobi will look at Jewish interpretations of Genesis 18, and Father Allen Morris will explore Christian readings of Genesis 22. The sessions will last an hour, and there will be plenty of time for discussion. The details are:
Tuesday 26 May 19.30: ‘Abraham - Welcoming Strangers, Challenging God’ (Genesis 18) with Rabbi Margaret Jacobi.
Tuesday 9 June 19.30: ‘Reading Isaac, Seeing Christ’ (Genesis 22) with Father Allen Morris.
Contact the Birmingham Branch for further details.