Catholic Jewish Institute
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Presented to Local Interfaith Leaders
Leading Catholic and Jewish Theologians Will Commemorate
40th Anniversary Of Groundbreaking Vatican Document
On Catholic-Jewish Relations
CHERRY HILL, NJ November 7, 2005 — Distinguished Catholic and Jewish religious educators will lead an interfaith community discussion of the many significant changes in Christian-Jewish relations over the last 40 years at the Cherry Hill Public Library on December 4 at 2 p.m. At the program, two leaders of the South Jersey Catholic Jewish Commission one Jewish and one Catholic — will each receive the Commissions Nostra Aetate Award in recognition of their long support for ecumenical relations.
Receiving the Catholic-Jewish Commission’s Nostra Aetate Award are Murray Gass of Cherry Hill and Gloria Mazziotti of Audubon. The pair is being recognized for their leadership in improving interfaith understanding and cooperation in Southern New Jersey, through their years of interfaith work including the creation of the Catholic-Jewish Institute of Understanding, a program of adult religious study for Jews and Christiansin an ecumenical environment, and the creation of the Catholic-Jewish Commission of Southern New Jersey, a joint enterprise of the Diocese of Camden and the Jewish Federation/Jewish Community Relations Council of Southern New Jersey.
Murray Gass has been an active leader in the Jewish community for decades seeking to further better relations and understanding between the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Serving as chair of the JCRC Interfaith Committee for many years, he helped create the Catholic-Jewish Institute of Understanding, the adult education program jointly sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden and the JCRC. On behalf of the Jewish community, Gass played a key role in the creation of the Catholic-Jewish Commission in 2001. His wife Sibyl, a past president of the JCRC, has been an active partner with Murray in his interfaith activities.
Gloria Mazziotti is the Co-President of the Catholic-Jewish Commission and is Treasurer of the Richard C. Goodwin Holocaust Museum and Education Center of the Delaware Valley. A participant in the Catholic-Jewish Institute from its inception, she and her husband John participated in the JCRCs Interfaith Israel mission in 2000.
She joined the planning committee of the Institute and served as a leader in the creation of the Commission. Mazziotti became a Co-President representing the Catholic side of the interfaith partnership.She also serves as an officer of the Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
The program will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the papal encyclical Nostra Aetate (In Our Time), a groundbreaking document issued by the Second Vatican Council in 1965, which helped reduce centuries of anti-Semitism by calling for ecumenical dialogue with Jews and Muslims.
Nostra Aetate denounced persecution or hatred of the Jewish people, and rejected discrimination because of race, color, condition of life, or religion. Nostra Aetate also absolves Jews of any blame for the death of Jesus, explicitly stating that what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. The document created a foundation for broader understanding and extensive dialogue between Roman Catholics and Jews in the four decades since its publication.
“The publication of Nostra Aetate not only brought about a fundamental historic change in Catholic-Jewish relations, but it also had a profound impact on Jewish relations and dialogue with other mainline Christian denominations, ” said Alan Respler, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council and Co-President of the Catholic-Jewish Commission. “These two outstanding leaders of our interfaith dialogue truly personify the spirit and intention of Nostra Aetate for our two faiths here in South Jersey,” said Dr. Michael Partnow, Co-President of the Commission.
“It is appropriate for us to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Nostra Aetate as an important milestone between Jews and Catholics, by honoring those who took a leadership role in developing this relationship, he added.”
The speakers, Sister Mary C. Boys and Rabbi Eugene Korn, will engage in a dialogue moderated by Rabbi Eron and Fr. Wallace. Both speakers are nationally renowned experts on theology and Christian-Jewish relations.
The Nostra Aetate event is sponsored by the Catholic-Jewish Commission of Southern New Jersey and the JCRC. Although the entire community is welcome and the admission to the program is free, those interested in attendingare requested to RSVP to the Commission c/o the Jewish Community Relations Council office at (856) 751-9500, x117, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editors, note:High resolution JPEG images of Murray Gass and Gloria Mazziotti are available on request.