Minutes of Meeting

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Date: February 7, 1993

Location: 7455 Elru Dr.

Meeting Topic: Daughter of Zion: A Symbol for Jewish-Catholic Dialogue

Facilitator: Rev. Bertrand Buby

Hosts: Jerry & Lorraine Kotler

PRESENT: Jerry & Lorraine Kotler, Cochairs; Arthur Auster, P. T. Bapu, Bert Buby, Glenn Duckwall, Phyllis Duckwall, Sophie Kahn, Stephen Kahn, Jack Kelley, Beth Kotler, Richard Loehrlein, Bob Mass, Eileen Moorman, Bill Rain, Kenneth Rosenzweig, Louis Ryterband.

Jack Kelley reported that Father Bill Cole, though ill, is still very interested in the Dialogue's activities. A new member, P. T. Bapu, was introduced. He is Bert Buby's student and is employed in the Research Institute of the University of Dayton. Richard Loehrlein introduced himself. He is a Marianist and is on leave from his last post as a teacher in Malawi, Africa.

As the opening prayer, Lorraine presented a "Davar Torah," (bit of wisdom). In the mystic tradition, the role of human beings is "Tikun Olam," (to mend the world). A person's function is to make choices and in doing so, that person brings about the redemption of the world. To illustrate this point, Lorraine described the story of Joseph and his brothers. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, led by Judah. Later when Joseph had become a minister to Pharaoh in Egypt, his brothers came to request food. Joseph conspired to have the youngest brother, Benjamin, falsely arrested for stealing a goblet. Subsequently, Judah asked to be taken in place of Benjamin. This brought about the reconciliation of the brothers. Lorraine asked the question why Joseph would do such a cruel thing to his brothers. She speculated that it was to give Judah and his brothers a chance to correct the original evil of selling their brother, Joseph, into slavery. Based on this story, Lorraine said that she understood better the Christian concept of "turning the other cheek." It is giving the other person a chance to make another choice. Jerry replied that Lorraine's thought was consistent with the concept of Total Dialogue, searching for meaning in the experience of the other religion.

Jerry reported that the most recent issue of the National Dialogue Newsletter is a memorial issue to Frank Brennan, Sr., who died recently. Several articles and letters on the subject of Total Dialogue were reprinted in the newsletter.

Beth Kotler reported the story of her close friend, a born-again Christian, who, at a point in their relationship, revealed that she wanted Beth to become a Christian. Beth noted that the Christians in the Dialogue are much more respectful of the value of the Jewish tradition and are generally not interested in converting Jews. However, she observed that those Christians who really need dialogue with Jews are not in the Dialogue and wondered how they could be brought in. Jerry replied that Christians are on a very broad spectrum from very liberal and open to Jews to the reverse. Gradually, Christians are being brought into dialogue with Jews and their values and sensitivities are thereby changed. Bapu said that part of the problem is that Christians sometimes accept pulpit interpretations rather than reading the Bible themselves.

Phyllis reported on an Essay Writing Contest sponsored by Sinclair Community College. Phyllis then reported on the Dialogue's bank balance. Jerry reported on his talk January 10 at the Temple Israel Brotherhood Brunch Lecture Series on Supersessionism. Ken said that Jerry's talk was very well received and the audience greatly appreciated Jerry's diligence and scholarship in the topic area.

Jack reported that he and Bert were working on reconstructing and recording the early history of the Dayton Christian Jewish Dialogue. Some discussion of early events ensued. In the 1960s, there were shared Seder meals. Father Holle called the first official meeting of the Dialogue which was held at the Rubenstein's home.

To begin his formal presentation, Bert distributed a song based on Psalm 87 which all in attendance joined in singing. He then described how he became interested in the project that led to the essay presented at the 11th International Mariological Congress and the 18th Marian Congress in Huelva, Spain, September 18-27, 1992. The title of the essay is Daughter of Zion: A Symbol for Jewish--Catholic Dialogue, and it has been published as a pamphlet by the University of Dayton. In the early years of the Dialogue, Shirley Flacks brought back souvenirs from her trips to Israel. After one trip, Shirley gave Bert a book called Psalms of Zion. This book inspired him to continue his work.

Bert then described the Congress in Huelva. Numerous theologians from all over the world were in attendance. Bert is now working on a book which further explicates the ideas initially developed in his Huelva presentation. Publications from the Second Vatican Council refer to Mary as "exalted daughter of Zion."

Bert's approach involves having Biblical figures dialogue with one another, even though they lived in quite different generations. This is also done in Haggadic materials in the Talmud. For example, some have seen Moses and Abraham as speaking to one another about the covenant. Bert wants to bring Mary into dialogue with individuals in the Hebrew Scriptures through the symbolism of Daughter of Zion. Thus he wants to see how Mary fulfills the prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures. His essay provides a methodology by which Jews and Christians can learn to mutually understand each other. The concept of Mary as Daughter of Zion can help Christians understand that both Jesus and Mary were Jews. Shirley's contribution to the development of the research is acknowledged in a footnote in the pamphlet. Father Bert displayed a modern painting of Mary in the Greek tradition with many Jewish symbols including a Torah. The painting is called Captive Daughter of Zion and is printed in the pamphlet. Bert concluded his formal presentation by expressing the hope that his research can lead to Christians' learning to respect the Jewish People's love for Zion.

Lorraine asked if Bert meant to suggest that Mary embodies the suffering of the Jewish people and Bert replied that he agreed with this idea. He continued that he hoped Jewish people can come to understand the feeling Catholics have for the mother of Jesus, and Catholics can learn how deeply the Jewish people feel about Zion. Stephen asked about the Disciples who saw Jesus and Mary entirely in a Jewish context.

Bert brought up an order of nuns called the Daughters of Zion which has a convent in Jerusalem. This order sees their mission as the protection of the Jewish people. Bert observed that there are references in the Dead Sea Scrolls that are suggestive of his concept of Daughter of Zion. Bert has sent his essay to numerous distinguished people for comment. Teddy Kolleck replied with extensive comments and Ellie Wiesel provided a short comment.

Ken asked about the special role of Mary in Catholic theology. There followed extensive discussion of this role. Bert referred to the Greek word for Mary, theotokos (mother of God). Historically, among Catholics, the role of Mary has changed over the ages. At one time, she approached a position of near-divinity. However, in recent times, her role is interpreted in a human context. Eileen talked about Mary as a wonderful role model for women incorporating the characteristics of strength and commitment. Jerry asked about the special position of Mary in view of the visions of Mary that are regularly reported by Catholics around the world. Lorraine said that all religions have some mystical experiences such as these visions of Mary, and Richard referred to the visions of Mary that are a part of such well-known movies as Our Lady of Lourdes and Song of Bernadette. He mentioned Franz Werfel's prayer to Mary which saved him from the Nazis. This inspired him to make the movie, Song of Bernadette.

After the discussion of Bert's presentation was concluded, Bert reported that Jim Heft had asked about the kinds of questions he should address in his presentation next month on The Trinity and Monotheism. Jerry volunteered that Jews find it hard to understand how the concept of the Trinity relates to that of the unity of God. Jack replied that part of the explanation is that human beings are limited by the meanings of words and images. Jerry suggested that Jim might address how the first covenant with the Jews is inadequate for Christians.

Bill Rain said that he and Mary Ellen would host the March 14 meeting to be held in Alumni Hall at the University of Dayton. Jerry suggested that a topic for a future meeting might come from the book by Jacob Neusner, A Rabbi Talks with Jesus.

The meeting adjourned at 10:08 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Kenneth Rosenzweig




Jack Kelley reported on the biography of Malcolm Vivian Hay, Valiant for the Truth. He was the author of Europe and the Jews, written in 1947; his book has gone through its fifth printing under three different titles, the last printing being in 1992. His biography, Valiant for the Truth, was written by his widow, Mrs. Alice Ivy Hay, in 1971. Although it does not exist in the Dayton area, we located a copy in the Akron University library and had it on loan from there.

Jack had been doing work at his own Writings and sought out a copy of his review of Marianist Father Bernard Lee's book, The Galilaean Jewishness of Jesus. The review had been published in 1983 in SIDIC. He sought copies of SIDIC (Service International Documentation Judaeo Chretien) in our library. He found none. This is surprising since SIDIC is published in three languages and is one of the few publications that focuses on the Relation. He had the same experience with failure of the library to get copies of the National Dialogue Newsletter. Fortunately the Roesch Library does have copies of Christian Jewish Relations (from London) and the Journal of Ecumenical Studies.

Jack suggested that we contact the head librarian and suggest to him that we get copies of these publications, even with the back copies, if available. A motion was placed on the floor to that effect and was passed unanimously.

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