One well-known rabbi who took part in the meeting promoted by the Focolare and held at the Mariapolis Centre in Castelgandolfo, Rome, explained that the history of mutual understanding between the two religions developed along three levels of interaction.
Level zero in which the members of both religions meet and come to know one another. Level one is a further step in which there is mutual respect and understanding. Fear of being interpolated by the “other” no longer exists.
Dialogue at the second level proposes that the persons involved are disposed that the other – Christian or Jew – has a genuine influence with their own religious convictions and is prepared to allow them* to be positively transformed.
This, of course, does not mean to question the religious identity of each person and even less “syncretism.” This proposal consists in allowing each party to use a spiritual language that allows everyone to come together.
“I must say that I have attended many such interreligious events over the years, but never have I taken part in one like this. It has been rare in my life to see together (as I have seen here) 4 rabbis from different currents of Judaism and a large group of lay experts discussing common themes of dialogue (30 from Argentina, USA, Italy and Uruguay), working with a totally unique methodology.
Usually each participant speaks of one’s own religion, comments on one’s own texts, and cites one’s own authors. Here the Christians commented on Hebrew texts and Hebrews commented on Christian texts. They did not draw on the wealth of ideas of philosophers or theologians who are famous in their fields, but they were rather examinations that focused on the impact these documents had produced on the readers themselves, a spiritual impact, in particular, and of deep substance.
The texts of Hebrew spirituality and texts of the spiritual patrimony that have been left to us by founder of the Focolare Movement, Chiara Lubich, were examined through a different lens than usual.
I use a metaphor from the world of cybernetics. It is now known that the web 2.0 will soon open new forms of communication through internet. Dialogue 2.0 is also a step forward. This will mean giving up the securities we’ve acquired until now in order to integrate the same elements as always, but in a new way. This will be more adapted to the building up of newer and deeper forms of interreligious encounter and, ultimately, a more fraternal society. We’ve experienced it during these days.
By Francisco Canzani