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Monday, June 10, 2013
15 years after the memorable meeting in 1998 at Buenos Aires in Argentina between Chiara Lubich and a numerous Jewish group, we publish an excerpt from theologian Piero Coda’s account of the event.

After having spoken in Buddhist temples and at the Harlem mosque, Chiara Lubich was happy to be able to address the Jewish brothers and sisters. She said, “It’s a great joy for me to meet with you today, you who are part of one of the largest Jewish communities in the world. A great joy, because [ …] I’ve never had the lucky chance of meeting in such large numbers those whom I consider, along with the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, to be my elder brothers and sisters and to honour and love them as such”.

The 150 people present sang Shalom, the song of peace. Everything was done in an atmosphere of ceremonial sacredness, punctuated by the Words of God from the Old Testament and from the awareness of assisting at an event that – as it was said – signified the “closing of an era and the opening of another: that of unity”.

In the front, a large chandelier with 7 arms (the menorah) with the candles solemnly lit one by one: the first represented light, the second justice, the third peace, the fourth benevolence, the fifth brotherly love, the sixth harmony.

Chiara and the President [of the B'nai B'rith, Dr. Jaime Kopec, editor’s note] were invited to light the seventh one placed at the centre: This is the candle of truth, the seal of God, the heart of life.

As soon as it was lit, Chiara turned towards the president and proposed to make a pact of unity in that moment. And he replied: “This is a pact”.

Then, in his speech, in which he addressed Chiara as “sister”, the president explained it to everyone as “a pact of loving one another, of faith in looking ahead to the future, of burying centuries of intolerance. It’s not easy, but only the brave undertake difficult ventures”.

“Unity is achieved in respecting the diversity”, added Mario Burman [responsible for the B'nai B'rith’s interreligious dialogue, editor’s note]. “A new era begins”. And then directing his gaze towards Chiara, “Chiara, Argentina needs your message”.

“I am here”, affirmed Chiara, “with brothers and sisters with whom we share a genuine faith in the one God and we have in common the priceless heritage of the Bible in what we call: the Old Testament. What can we do? What can we consider? If a simple Golden Rule (do unto others what you want done unto yourself) is able to gather us together with the followers of other religions in brotherly love, if not always in God, at least in the faith of a superior Being, what could happen if the Lord began to clarify that it is His will to establish even among us, Jews and Christians, a brotherly relationship? ( …) I was enlightened by many divine truths that fill your Jewish tradition and which we share. Truths that can become the bonding agent between our and your spiritual life. (…) I dreamt in this way to be able to live together these truths and to give a new hope to the world with our deep communion, with our collaboration”.

Taken from “The menorah lights – with Chiara Lubich in Argentina and Brazil”, Città Nuova Ed., Roma, 1998, pp. 132,34.

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