DAYTON CHRISTIAN JEWISH DIALOGUE

Minutes of Meeting

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Date: February 9, 2003

Location: University of Dayton, Alumni Hall Room 101

Meeting Topic: Three Perspectives on Social Justice

Speakers: Rev. Dr. Robert E. Jones, Rabbi Judith A. Bluestein, Eileen Moorman

Hosts: Corinne and Steve Coleman

Members  25, Guests 5

                                    

Submitted by: Rev. Dr. Robert E. Jones

 

I.    Protestant prospective – God calls us to be engaged in struggles for social justice and peace.

A.    Through the prophets: Amos, Micah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah

B.    Through the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

 II.    Different philosophies on how to deal with the struggle for social justice and peace.

A.    Work to save souls

B.    Provide for basic human needs

C.    Systematic change

 III.    Our responsibility towards social justice and peace.

A.    Celebrate the diversity and dignity of all.

B.    Change systems that produce injustice, poverty and war.

C.    Depend on the power of God and what Jesus’ teachings revealed.

 IV.    Message of social justice and peace needs to be heard and embraced.

A.    By leadership in the White House

B.    Citizens in the United States

C.    Leadership in Iraq

D.    Leadership of Israel and Palestine

 V.      We must be non-violent advocate

            A.  We must seek to change hearts through love, compassion and education.

            B.   Illustration

                                             

 Submitted by: Rabbi Judith A. Bluestein

Judaism’s insistence on social justice starts from its foundation and early history as the TaNaK demonstrates. Numerous texts in both the Torah and the Prophets demonstrate that Judaism’s gift to religion was not just that of monotheism, but ethical monotheism, i.e., a God who cared how people acted. However, Judaism as we know it is not a product of the Bible but of the rabbinic period. It is there we find this value incorporated into Jewish ritual and life. Social justice consists of two areas, acts of lovingkindness as well as the giving of money. One of the early passages in the daily morning service [based on the Mishnah and the Talmud] reminds the worshipper of the obligation to perform these acts of lovingkindness. And in one of the most famous texts of Judaism, Moses Maimonides [1135-1204] describes the “Ladder of Tzedakah”.  Giving of money to the poor is not considered “charity,” but “justice”. It is owed to them, but there are a variety of ways in which one might contribute tzedakah. Finally, one of the most compelling statements is in the Haftarah, the Prophetic reading, on the morning of the fast day Yom Kippur. The rabbis selected Isaiah 57:14 through 58:14, a text which makes it clear that God considers a “fast” to be far more than merely going through the motions. In the modern period the Reform movement has substituted Leviticus 19 [“The Holiness Code”] as the afternoon reading from the Torah which reminds the individual of his/her divine potential and how he/she might fulfill it.

  

Submitted by: Eileen Moorman on Social Justice

 Eileen Moorman spoke about social justice from the perspective of the teaching of the Catholic Church. One important point she made is that social justice differs from charity. Charity does not look at the root causes of suffering, rather, it responds to the suffering. Social Justice does look at the root causes of suffering, whether they are political, economic, social, cultural, religious, or mythical; then proceeds to correct these root causes.

Jesus follows in the footsteps of the prophets, and adds that justice is the very criterion for salvation (Matthew 25:31-46). Eileen left us with the thought that we must “go the limit” in working against injustices, yet knowing that, in the end, God will gently have the last say. This teaches us to work and pray so that the Rule of God can become a reality.

 

 A Line from Lillian :

         Greetings!  I hope the new year is going well for all.  The Dialogue is doing great!  There were a number of new faces at the January meeting, which were great to see, among a large number of the more familiar members.

          The membership drive is going well.  We have received dues ($20 per year per person) from all but a handful of those who were members last year, and some new memberships.  In the March newsletter will be the membership roster for 2003 – with addresses and phone numbers.  If you have not yet paid, and want to be included on the list, please send a check to Connie Breen by the end of February.  Please enclose your name, address, phone number, and your e-mail with your check.  Connie’s address is: 3521 Echo Spring Trail, Kettering, OH 45429.

          Continue to pray and work for peace.

          Blessings and Shalom, Lillian

 

Thank you to each of our February Dialogue presenters: Rev. Dr. Robert E. Jones, Rabbi Judith A. Bluestein and Eileen Moorman.

Thank you to Corinne and Steve Coleman for bringing refreshments.

 Thank you to Rev. Lillian Gillespie, President of DCJD, for the devotions.

 

We acknowledge with sadness the passing of Bess Hiller, mother of Bonnie Rosenzweig, and Jane Seymour, a former member of the DCJD.

Respectfully submitted,

Donna Bealer, Secretary

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