The following interview was emailed to me in its translation (the bold is mine).
INTERVIEW TO KIKO ARGUELLO ON THE MEETING WITH RABBIS AT THE DOMUS GALILEAE
Last Thursday ended in Israel, the international meeting of Christian-Jewish rabbis, cardinals and bishops, promoted by the Neocatechumenal Way, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Declaration Nostra Aetate and in remembrance of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. It was held at the Domus Galilaeae, on the Sea of Galilee and was attended by 120 rabbis, 7 Cardinals (Pell, Rylko, Toppo, Schonborn, Cordes, Yeom Soo-jung and Romeo) and 20 bishops from all over the world. Also present were the Itinerants of the Way and academics, art and culture personalities of both faiths. Pope Francis sent a message to highlight and recognize this event as a tool to strengthen the brotherhood between the two peoples. Roberto Piermarini asked Kiko Argüello, initiator of the Neocatechumenal how did this interfaith event:
R. - It 'was an idea of the rabbis of New York. Having realized that the symphony "The suffering of the innocent," at Lincoln Center, in New York, was greatly loved by the rabbis, they thought to perform it in Auschwitz, in front of the "Gate of Death", which 60 bishops from Poland, 15 000 brothers and many rabbis attended. Rabbi Rosenbaum, a reformist, was impressed and said he did not want this relationship of love and communion with the Way to stop. He said, "A few rabbis knew what's going on in the Catholic Church with the Neocatechumenal Way: this love that you have for the Jewish people, that comes from the catechumenate of the Christian community. In the Way the deep roots of our faith are explained: Abraham, the Exodus, the story of salvation and so on. " Then he said: "Why not do a meeting at Domus, inviting more rabbis: all the rabbis of Europe and the world?". And I said: "Oh my, it's hard! But, all right! You write ". Then he and Rabbi Greenberg, who has a lot of prestige, wrote a letter of invitation to all the rabbis, for these days of May, which was signed by me, two rabbis, and Cardinal O'Malley, Cardinal Cañizares and Rabbi Rosen, who were in charge of the relationship between Catholicism and Judaism. We waited, therefore, to see what happened and the surprise was that 120 rabbis from all over the world showed up. It 'was great! They also came from several branches: Orthodox, liberal, reformists. It was 'the first time they were together, "and this - they say - it is a miracle that only the Catholics could do."
Q. - What is the mission that Jews and Christians have at this moment in history?
R. - We performed the symphony, singing "Shema Israel" together. Some were crying, really excited, because the Talmud says: "The day that Catholics, the goyim, with the Jews, will sing the Shema Israel, the Messiah comes." Therefore, They were, all impressed. Then we made a questionnaire for groups, which stirred the bishops, cardinals and rabbis. One of the questions was: "What is the saving mission of the Jewish people and the Catholic Church at this time in the world?" We explained how the Way is opening now to Asia - China, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia - and how we are carrying the Torah and the Gospel which is the light to the world to all these nations, that were under communism. They were very impressed and united. We are united in this great mission.
Q. - What has been the response of the rabbis?
R. - Fantastic! Fantastic! Rabbi Brodman, one of the most important rabbis, said: "This is an event that shows that the Messiah is coming." Then they said wonderful things: they loved the beauty of Domus Galilaeae that welcomed them ... then the songs. We danced, because these days it recurred the end of Lag Ba'omer, is a time of mourning commemorating the sacrifice of Rabbi Akiva. There is a moment, when it ends the Lag Ba'omer, in which they do a great fire in all the synagogues and dance. We did it here, dancing together: cardinals, bishops, and all rabbis. It 'was exciting! They could not believe their eyes to what was going on. It's really an historical fact. So they want to continue this relationship with us. One thing that most impressed them was the passage of the faith to new generations, because they have many problems on this. Young people, in fact, become secularized. We screened a video that explained how the passage of faith is done in the Way. They were impressed on how parents can explain to their children the Word; how they ask them: what does this Word say to you today in your life? They remained so impressed and want us to help them in this.
The director of Domus Galilaeae, the center of the Neocatechumenal Way in Galilee, Don Rino Rossi, one of the organizers of the event, explains the highlights of this historic 'meeting.
R. - Certainly the presentation hit them very much, because it was made by the itinerants of the Neocatechumenal Way of the various nations that presented to the rabbis, giving their experience - even briefly - these itinerant presented, for example, their situation of conjugates perhaps with 8, 10, 12 children ... This has created an impressive impact in the rabbis, who recalled it in their experiences. Then, of course, one thing that has struck them much was the concert of the Symphony of the Innocents The orchestra has come here, and I have seen many rabbis cry. They were very touched. Then, another important moment was the questionnaire, where they could talk and tell their experiences, but above all there was the exchange between cardinals, bishops, the itinerant catechists and rabbis.
Q. - There was a common prayer?
R. - We had Vespers, led by a rabbi, Wednesday night, in all their forms, in which we participated. Then, on Thursday morning, they also wished that they could pray as Christians, and we did Lauds, presided over by Cardinal Schönborn, with psalms, with a reading of the prophet Isaiah, and Chapter 60, 1-5, with a homily made Cardinal Schönborn which was very welcome.
Q. - At the end of the meeting what has been the reaction of the rabbis?
R. - We received exciting experiences. A Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Brodman, started giving an experience that moved the assembly. He spoke of this meeting as a crucial meeting, of this relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish world that he never could have expected. He said: "This was my dream. I wanted - and the Lord gives me, at the end of my life - to see these things. " He cited a book by a rabbi who is very important to him; He said that we are in a time when we are experiencing "labor pains" to prepare for the arrival of the Messiah in our midst, and he's already seeing all this; Also in this meeting, he saw it as a preparation for this coming of the Messiah. Then there was another rabbi of Holland who also told his experience as a child he was saved by a Christian family. And also speaking of this meeting, he said: "I have really seen God work in our midst." Another rabbi who said: "I tell you frankly, that I realized something, listening to Kiko. I in my family, in my tradition, I never heard that God loves us ", and said with a force that moved the assembly. "I saw him here, in this house. - He said - I saw him really in the facts: how they welcomed us ... ", in the experiences that I have heard in the groups, how these couples spoke, these families, these brothers of the Neocatechumenal Way, saying with their lives, how God loved them, how he had redeemed them, saved them ... He said: "Well here, I asked my wife: 'But you, for example, have you heard from someone in your life, in the synagogue, this word, that God loves us? '". And his wife said to him: "No, I have not ever heard, ever heard!". And the rabbi said: "Me too ...". Also the experience of Rabbi Greenberg of the United States was very moved. The environment that was created at the end you cannot describe it, really! Then, we also had very familiar times, we had dances ... there was a spirit of communion that was very strong!