Archdiocesan celebration of the Day of Judaism at the Catholic University of Lublin (KUL)
Poles and Jews lived together for centuries on the same Polish soil, worked and prayed together, created together a common Polish culture, of which Jews are prominent representatives - recalled the rector of the Catholic University of Lublin, Rev. Prof. Miroslaw Kalinowski, on the occasion of the Day of Judaism in the Lublin Archdiocese. - We are united by a great deal, much more than we think on a daily basis - the rector of the KUL added.
The Archdiocesan Center for Catholic-Jewish Dialogue in Lublin and the Abraham J. Heschel Center for Catholic-Jewish Relations of the Catholic University of Lublin organized on January 18 - on the occasion of the XXVI Day of Judaism in the Catholic Church - a meeting devoted to relations between Christians and Jews. In addition to Catholic clergy, the event was attended by representatives of Jewish circles, including Rabbi Yitzhak Chaim Rapoport of the Jewish Community in Warsaw, who delivered a lecture on the Jewish Passover.
Opening the meeting, the director of the Heschel Center of the Catholic University of Lublin, Rev. Prof. Miroslaw S. Wróbel, recalled that the motto of this year's XXVI Day of Judaism is the words referring to the Book of Exodus: "The passage of the Lord: Today you are going out." - The Day of Judaism is an opportunity to meet together, to read the Word of God together, to reflect together and to pray together - stressed Rev. Prof. Wróbel.
He also recalled that the Commission on Religious Relations with Judaism conveyed in 2015 that "the first goal of dialogue is to deepen mutual knowledge of Jews and Christians. One can only love what one has gradually learned and one can only know truly and deeply what one loves. This deepened knowledge is accompanied by mutual enrichment, by virtue of which the partners in dialogue become recipients of gifts."
The director of the Heschel Center of the Catholic University of Lublin also recalled the message for the Day of Judaism by Rabbi Abraham Skorka, who stressed the need for Judaism and Christianity to develop dynamically in order to seek new ways to realize God's designs in the modern world: "In these changing times, Christianity, like Judaism, still needs to show new spiritual paths. Each generation has its own spiritual challenges and seeks role models. No static religion has a future. We need to develop dialogue and creative thinking."
- Dialogue and creative thinking open up a spiritual space where we can experience God's saving touch and recognize that we are children of one God. Today we are called to experience the "passage of the Lord" (pesach Adonai), in which our "coming out" (exodus) from slavery to sin towards a life of freedom for God's children is accomplished - concluded Rev. Prof. Wróbel.
Rabbi Yitzhak Chaim Rapoport, instead spoke about the Jewish Passover, he referred to Lublin, where Jewish life flourished for hundreds of years before World War II and the Holocaust, including the world-famous rabbinical college in Lublin, called Jerusalem of the Kingdom of Heaven. - There was a tremendous Jewish life here, and today we are doing everything we can to rebuild it - Rapoport noted, adding that he teaches Talmud for three hours every day in Warsaw. - This is something that didn't exist for very many years - he added. The rabbi also expressed his gratitude to the participants of the ceremony, including the Grand Chancellor of the Catholic University of Lublin, Metropolitan Archbishop Stanislaw Budzik and Bishop Mieczyslaw Cisło as well as many representatives of Lublin's authorities, culture, science and media, for their presence.
A letter from the Rector of the Catholic University of Lublin to the participants of the ceremony was read by the Vice-Rector for Education, Prof. Ewa Trzaskowska. Referring to the Day of Judaism in the Catholic Church, Rev. Prof. Miroslaw Kalinowski stressed that this day allows us to search for what Christianity and Judaism have in common. - And we have a great deal in common, much more than we think on a daily basis. We are united by a common Bible - the Old and New Testaments; we are united by the Holy Land called the Fifth Gospel, and in it the holy cities of Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Capernaum, Mount Tabor or the Sea of Galilee; we are united by the Decalogue, a common culture and shared values; we are also united by the Exodus from Egyptian slavery, which became a symbol of liberation from slavery, dependence, overcoming one's own weaknesses, rejecting apparent prosperity and wandering to the promised land - wrote the rector of the Catholic University of Lublin.
He also stressed that the Day of Judaism celebrated in Poland, as well as in Lublin, has a special meaning. - Poles and Jews lived together for centuries on the same Polish soil, worked and prayed together, and together created a common Polish culture, of which Jews are prominent representatives. At the same time, Poland was for several centuries home to the largest concentration of Jews in the world, was the world center of Jewish learning, famous Jewish universities - yeshivas, was the center of Hasidism, Yiddish culture, Zionism - said Rev. Prof. Kalinowski. The Day of Judaism at the Catholic University of Lublin began with a performance of the song ‘Shema Israel’, after which texts from the Torah and the Gospels were read and two commentaries - Jewish and Catholic - were delivered. After a speech by Rabbi Yitzhak Rapoport, who talked about the Jewish celebration of Passover, while Father Mirosław Bielecki, father of the Light and Love Centre in Łopoczno, presented Passover from a Christian perspective. The meeting ended with a performance by the violin duo Lucjan Szalinski-Balwas and Martin David King.
The Day of Judaism in the Catholic Church in Poland was established in 1997 by the Polish Episcopal Conference. It is celebrated on the eve of the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - January 17. Its purpose is to advance Christian-Jewish dialogue, as well as prayer and reflection on the relationship between the two religions.