Communique from the Anglican Jewish Commission
Communique from the Anglican Jewish Commission
Fourth meeting, London 24-25 May 2010
The fourth meeting of the Anglican Jewish Commission of the Archbishop of
Canterbury and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel took place at Lambeth Palace,
the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury on 24th and 25th May 2010/
11th and 12th Sivan 5770. The Commission's mandate is taken from the provisions
of the joint declaration of the Archbishop and the Chief Rabbis at Lambeth
Palace on 6th September 2006 and confirmed at their second meeting in Jerusalem
on 31st October 2007.
The leaders of the Commission delegations, Chief Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen
of Haifa and the Rt Revd Michael Jackson, Bishop of Clogher, recalled with
pleasure the previous meetings of the Commission and welcomed the confirmation
and renewal of friendship which this fourth meeting of the Commission represents
for Jewish Christian relationships.
At the opening session Bishop Michael Jackson welcomed the Jewish delegation
to Lambeth Palace, and gave greetings to the group on behalf of Dr Rowan
Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The theme of the Commission's meeting was 'Creation' and papers were presented
by Venerable Dr Michael Ipgrave on behalf of the Anglican delegation and
by Rabbi David Rosen on behalf of the Jewish delegation. Vibrant discussions
took place in a warm, frank and constructive atmosphere on the many issues
raised by the papers. These discussions enriched and consolidated the deepening
friendships between members of the Commission.
Archdeacon Michael Ipgrave in his paper described the way in which Anglican
views of nature developed out of the interaction of theology and natural
science in the early seventeenth century. From then onwards, Anglicans have
sought to relate the insights of science to the teaching of the scriptures,
through motifs such as the liber mundi ('book of the world'), the idea that
the cosmos is a series of signs which can be interpreted and read like a
book. Creation as a gift of God is entrusted into the care of human beings;
Anglicans have variously described this as a language spoken by God, a sacrament
conveying his presence, and a responsibility laid on each in their particular
context or 'station'. In the current ecological crisis, the faithful exercise
of our stewardship of creation raises sharp challenges to all our communities
- water politics and animal welfare were two particularly pressing examples.
Anglicans could have confidence that their continuing theological tradition,
rooted in scripture, had resources to help address these challenges.
Rabbi David Rosen explored Biblical and Talmudic insights into the moral
dimensions of creation, based on the dual aspects of God, who is the one
both of justice and of mercy. Drawing particularly on the account of creation
in Genesis he noted the importance of affirming firstly the divine ownership
of creation, and then the nature of humanity as the summit of creation. This
leads in turn to human responsibility to care for and preserve creation.
Rabbi Rosen emphasised the concept of Bal Tashchit, the prohibition against
wanton destruction (based on Deuteronomy 20.19-20) which was expanded by
the sages to include waste and over indulgence. He concluded by drawing attention
to the key role of the Sabbath in ensuring the valuing and sustaining of
While being enhanced by the particular perspectives of each tradition, the
Commission noted the degree of confluence between the two papers. They wished
to draw the attention of their respective religious communities to the importance
of upholding the integrity of creation, and the need for responsible human
stewardship and sustainable development within our world.
The Commission's meeting in London coincided with a reception given by Sir
Sigmund Sternberg at the offices of the Board of Deputies of British Jews
in honour of Rabbi David Rosen, to mark the award to Rabbi Rosen of the order
of the CBE. The event highlighted the importance currently given to developing
Jewish-Christian relations in England, and the enthusiasm and commitment
of those who were working in this field.
An additional pleasure of the meeting was the privilege of a private viewing
at the British Library of a number of significant Jewish and Christian biblical
manuscripts, including the famous "Golden Haggadah". The Commission
was deeply appreciative of the generosity of Sir Colin Lucas, Chairman of
the British Library Board and his colleagues, who had welcomed and hosted
the group, spending considerable time and effort to ensure that the visit
had been both memorable and informative. A visit to the 'Treasures of Lambeth
Library' exhibition at Lambeth Palace itself was also valued, and the Commission
expressed their thanks to the Lambeth Librarian.
The Commission members looked forward to the next meeting of the Archbishop
and the Chief Rabbis of Israel in London and to the next meeting of the Commission
in Jerusalem in 2011.
The Rt Revd Michael Jackson
Chief Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen
Delegation of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel
Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Haifa, President of
Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber, Bar Ilan University
Rabbi David Brodman, Chief Rabbi of Savyon
Rabbi David Rosen CBE, AJC
Mr Oded Wiener, Director General of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel
Delegation of the Archbishop of Canterbury
The Rt Revd Michael Jackson, Bishop of Clogher
Mrs Clare Amos, Director of Theological Studies, Anglican Communion
Dr Jane Clements, Consultant in Christian-Jewish Relations
The Ven Michael Ipgrave, Archdeacon of Southwark
Revd Rana Youab Khan, International Inter Faith Dialogues Assistant, Lambeth
Palace and Anglican Communion Office.