DAYTON CHRISTIAN JEWISH DIALOGUE
Minutes of Meeting
April 18, 1999
Location: Alumni Hall, University of Dayton
Meeting Topic: Advisability of American Military Involvement in Kosovo
Facilitator: Dieter Walk (substituting for Robin Smith who was absent due to illness)
Hosts: Steve and Corinne Coleman
PRESENT: Dieter Walk, Meeting Leader; Nan Adams, Bob Amsden, Davida Amsden, Connie Breen, Bert Buby, Corinne Coleman, Steve Coleman, Phyllis Duckwall, Shirley Flacks, Edith Holsinger, Bette Jasko, Bob Jasko, Sophie Kahn, Stephen Kahn, Jack Kelley, Eleanor Koenigsberg, Harry Koenigsberg, Barbara Levine, John Magee, Sally Mandel, Eileen Moorman, Bill Rain, Donald Ramsey, Ken Rosenzweig, Harold Rubenstein, Sophie Rubenstein, Bob Sheldon, Dieter Walk, Suzie Walk, Juanita Wehrle-Einhorn, Robert Wehrle-Einhorn, Rose Wendel, William Youngkin.
Dieter called the meeting to order at about 7:50 PM. Steve delivered the devotional. He stated that he was glad to be involved with the Dialogue and is very impressed with minutes of our meetings. Dieter thanked the hosts of the meeting, Steve and Corinne Coleman, for providing the refreshments. Dieter announced an upcoming program of the Episcopal Diocese, supported by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), titled Sharing Jerusalem: Christian, Jewish and Muslim Perspectives. The program will be held at the David H. Ponitz Center at Sinclair Community College on Tuesday, May 18 at 7:00 PM.
Shirley announced the Sunday afternoon, April 25, performance of the premier Jewish folksinger and composer, Debbie Friedman, at the University of Dayton Kennedy Union Ballroom. Shirley offered to sell Debbie Friedman Concert tickets to those in attendance. Shirley also announced a dinner honoring Bert Buby to be held at Neil's Heritage House on June 13 at 6:00 PM. Bert has recently published his fourth book. The chairpersons for this event are Shirley Flacks, Eric Friedland, and Eileen Moorman. This dinner will replace the regular monthly meeting of June.
Dieter discussed the May 16 monthly Dialogue meeting which will be held at University of Dayton Alumni Hall at 7:30 PM (the dinner at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base Officers Club has been canceled). Dr. Idinopulos, from Miami University, will speak about his book, Jerusalem, A History of the Holiest City As Seen Through the Struggles of Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Dieter announced that the Dialogue will have a retreat in July at Bergamo Conference Center. The speaker will be Rabbi Shmuel Klatzkin.
Connie announced that Lou Ryterband was not accepted this year for the Walk of Fame at the Dayton International Airport. Lou is a beloved former Dialogue member who died in 1998. The Walk of Fame is a set of ceremonial floor tiles which commemorates people who have had an important influence on the Dayton area. Many of the Dialogue members wrote recommendations in support of Lou's application. Connie stated that Lou barely missed making it, and she was encouraged by the officials to pursue the award for next year. Others who were accepted for the Walk of Fame include Phil Donahue, Lilian Gish, and Mike Peters.
Dialogue members were encouraged to attend the speech by Prof. Jay Winter tomorrow night on the Holocaust Rescuers at Sinclair College Blair Hall. He is speaking as a part of the Sinclair Holocaust Remembrance Program and will also be speaking at a Holocaust Education Committee Teachers Conference at Sinclair on Tuesday morning.
Dieter talked about the Dialogue website and an upcoming Dialogue planning meeting. Ken logged on to the website with his laptop and agreed to show attendees how to use the website after the formal meeting was over. Eileen passed out cards to sign up for the Bert Buby Recognition Dinner.
Jack asked newcomers to the Dialogue to introduce themselves. Bob Sheldon said he is auditing a course at UD on the Holocaust. Sally Mandel is visiting Corinne Coleman; she is from Savannah, Georgia.
Jack delivered some remarks. He reported that the Christian Scholars Group on Judaism and the Jewish People of which he has been a member for many years has faced a problem of declining support. At its last meeting, the membership was asked to consider whether to invite Jewish scholars to join. After much discussion, the Group decided not to invite the Jewish scholars into the Group. Jewish scholars often attend the meetings as guests. On another matter, Jack reported that Rabbi Rubin collaborated with Jack and others on improving the Oberamergau Passion Play. The group complained about 25 controversial areas in the play, the most important of which were the horns on priests and the blood curse text from Matthew. In that section, Jews acknowledge, "his blood be upon us and our children."
Ken announced a Christian Jewish Bible study group coordinated by Dave Schwartz of Seed House in Cincinnati. Harold announced his concern with the upcoming program of the Episcopal Diocese, entitled Sharing Jerusalem, mentioned earlier in these minutes. Harold feared that the program was biased against undivided Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Dieter said that Jerusalem is the only nation's capitol which is not recognized as such by many other nations and parties.
Dieter announced the upcoming Our Shared Heritage tour of Israel on October 14-25. The tour will provide a great opportunity for Christians and Jews to join together to explore their common religious heritage. Also, Rabbi Fox is a great tour leader.
Jerry discussed a copy of a sermon preached by David Gracie of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, on Palm Sunday, 1999. Jerry received a copy of the sermon from his daughter Beth who lives in Philadelphia. The sermon expresses regret for the anti-Semitic incidents that have often taken place during Holy Week. These incidents are often generated by the story of the Passion that is told to parishioners during Holy Week. Gracie challenges Christians to develop a liturgy which acknowledges the past sins of Christians against Jews. Jewish liturgy often includes such acknowledgment of past wrongs, i.e., the spilling of drops of wine on the plate in the Passover Seder as recognition for the unfortunate death of the Egyptian soldiers, drowned in the Red Sea. On another matter, Jerry was disappointed that our last speaker, Rev. Pawlikowski, could not say that supersessionism was no longer being taught in some Catholic schools.
Discussion of Kosovo
Dieter announced the topic for the meeting is Yugoslavia, Kosovo, and American involvement. He said that it would be an interactive evening and attendees were encouraged to contribute their thoughts on the issue.
Dieter began the discussion with a provocative lead-in. He stated that President Clinton has cheapened the Holocaust by comparing it to the Serb treatment of the Kosovars. What the Serbs are doing to the Kosovars is not genocide. Dieter raised the question of whether we are being misled by the media. Edith stated her own position is very ambivalent with respect to this crisis. She noted that if other countries had intervened in the American Civil War, Americans would not have tolerated it. Comparing the Kosovo crisis to the American Civil War may be more appropriate than comparing it to the Holocaust. Steve said we ought to separate humanitarian concerns from geopolitical ones. He noted that both Israel and France, and the Jewish service organization, Hadassah, are really helping to care for the refugees. The Serbs should not be compared to Hitler. As long as Germany did not invade its neighbors, no other nation had the right to intervene in its internal affairs. However, when Hitler invaded the Rhineland, he should have been stopped. Steve complained that NATO is interfering in the internal affairs of Yugoslavia. He observed that large population movements have happened frequently in history, and it is impossible for us to do anything about them.
Ken observed that he does not feel that national sovereignty should protect a nation which is engaging in genocide. Bill said that American policy is in disarray. Bob Jasko said that we need a peace academy to get the warring parties together. Who would have thought that the civil wars in Northern Ireland and South Africa would be resolved. Steve said that the idea that America should interfere when countries come apart is questionable. As long as the parties to the conflict do not agree, there is not much hope for us to solve it.
Dieter pointed out that Kosovo has vast mineral resources and is thus very important. Harold said one element that we have ignored is the religion of the parties: the Serbs are mostly Orthodox Christians and the Kosovars are mostly Muslims. Edith stated that Lawrence Eagleberger has said that racism may be involved. Edith also asked why Kosovo is so poor? Harold observed that the refugees shown in news broadcasts seem well dressed. Steve heard a report that the Kosovo Liberation Front has questionable aspects: it has Marxist elements and may deal in drugs. It may also include a stream of Islamic fundamentalism.
Dieter observed that much of the refugee problem involves people being caught between the military forces of the Serbs and the Kosovo Liberation Front. Dieter said that every life has value, and negotiations should have been pursued more diligently before committing military forces. Shirley commented that Israel has taken refugees from Kosovo. One of them is already directing a play in Haifa that was stopped in Kosovo by the killing of the leading actress. Dieter expressed concern about the precedent set by NATO intervention and asked where our military might next be used.
Ken said that no nation that conducts genocide should be able to claim national sovereignty. Dieter pointed out that we are depleting our military resources in Kosovo. We will be in a hard position to maintain our other commitments around the world. Edith reported sadly that a Kosovar refugee woman stated that she would teach her children hatred of the Serbs. Steve said that one way to stop the pain of war is to engage in a humanitarian effort. Steve also noted that Albania was a supporter of Hitler during World War II. Steve Coleman told the story of a Rabbi on the beach who was seen throwing starfish which had washed up on the beach back into the ocean. Someone asked the Rabbi how what he was doing could make a difference. The Rabbi replied that it would make a difference to this starfish. Dieter noted that he has voiced his concerns about American involvement in Kosovo to his governmental representatives.
The meeting adjourned at about 9:15 PM.
Ken Rosenzweig, Secretary
Report on Dialogue Planning Meeting
Present: Robin Smith and Felix Garfunkel, Cochairs; Connie Breen, Bert Buby, Shirley Flacks, Jack Kelley, Jerry Kotler, Eileen Moorman, Ken Rosenzweig, Harold Rubenstein, Sophie Rubenstein.
The Dialogue Planning Meeting was held on May 4 at the home of Connie Breen. The meeting began with a discussion of the question of whether the Dialogue had tax-free status. It was brought out that the Dialogue had never applied for tax-free status from either the State of Ohio or the Federal Internal Revenue Service. Tax free status from the State of Ohio might allow the Dialogue to pay expenses without sales tax. Federal tax free status would qualify contributions to the Dialogue to be tax deductible. Robin agreed to investigate how to get tax free status from the State of Ohio and the Federal Government.
There was a discussion of the need for the Dialogue to have Bylaws. Robin agreed to draft a set of Bylaws which will be considered at the August meeting. The attendees at the planning meeting developed the Schedule of future meetings which is provided with these Minutes.