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A radical rabbi and the CCJ’s position

by
17 August 2012

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From the Revd David Gifford
Sir, - Robert Cohen's engaging interview with Rabbi David Goldberg (Features, 10 August) was timely and perceptive. If nothing else, it demonstrated the breadth of opinion that healthily exists within the Jewish community: opinion on circumcision, Jewishness, faith education, interfaith dialogue, and, of course, Israel. Indeed, my recent review of Rabbi Goldberg's book warmly commended it for its alternative voice.

But it seems to me important for Anglicans to remember that there will be a good many in the Jewish community who will not agree with him. The Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), which comes in for (somewhat ill-informed) criticism by Rabbi Goldberg, has, of necessity, to work and engage with all shades of opinion within the UK Jewish diaspora. We cannot be dismissive of those who passionately feel differently from him about Israel/ Palestine - or his views of Jewishness, for that matter.

Our 70 years of existence have taught us that it is better to listen and understand why a particular view is held. We do not believe that to be anodyne, or avoiding "grasping the nettle" - anything but, in fact. And "timid" interfaith dialogue certainly is not.

DAVID GIFFORD
Chief Executive
The Council of Christians and Jews
21 Godliman Street
London EC4V 5BD

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