Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Board of Rabbis to Honor Bishop Hubbard [UPDATED]

Paul Grondahl of the Times Union writes:
It seemed entirely natural that Bernice "Bunny" Kahn used to refer to Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese as "our bishop."

It didn't matter that she was Jewish, a supporter of Jewish causes and a member of both Congregation Ohav Shalom and Temple Israel.

Kahn, who died last year, was co-chairwoman of the Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Committee, an interfaith group that has been around for nearly four decades and has enjoyed Hubbard's imprimatur.

"The reason we got started and are still going strong is because of Bishop Hubbard's support," said committee co-chairwoman Joan Dunham, a parishioner of St. Madeleine Sophie Church in Guilderland and an organizer of a workshop this Sunday focusing on Christian and Jews in dialogue.

At Sunday's event, the Capital District Board of Rabbis will honor Hubbard for his 40-year commitment to fostering the Jewish-Catholic dialogue.

The rest of his story is available here. And here are the details if you don't visit the link:

What: Workshop and discussion by authors Mary C. Boys and Sara S. Lee, sponsored by the Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Committee.

When: 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: St. Joseph's Hall, College of Saint Rose, 432 Western Ave., Albany

Info.: 456-4126. Free and open to the public.

UPDATE: Rabbi Scott L. Shpeen, senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Emeth in Albany, writes about Bishop Hubbard:
The Capital District Board of Rabbis will honor Bishop Howard Hubbard for his singular role as catalyst in promoting dialogue during the past 40 years. In 1968, as a young priest and chairman of the Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Roman Catholic Diocese, he was part of the grass-roots effort to start this process of dialogue, laying the foundation for building bridges of reconciliation and friendship between Catholics and Jews. Living room conversations brought together leaders in each community. They evolved into broad-based community programs promoting a deeper understanding of each faith. They led to stronger bridges of friendship and interfaith missions to Israel and Rome.

The landmark From Fear to Friendship: Service of Reconciliation at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on March 20, 1986, was truly the culmination of the first two decades of dialogue. It was one of the first interfaith services I attended after coming to this community and the first time in the United States that a Roman Catholic bishop publicly apologized for the bitter history of Catholic anti-Judaism over the centuries.

Three years later in recognition of that historic moment, a magnificent sculpture called "Portal" was erected on the grounds of the cathedral. Its inscription encourages us and future generations "to walk through the portal of reconciliation from fear to friendship to build together a new community created in atonement, in love and in peace."

Dialogue is more than two people or two communities merely talking to each other. True dialogue challenges us to move beyond what we believe, beyond our comfort zone, in order to understand others. True dialogue requires a willingness not only to forge meaningful relationships (which take time!) but also to listen much more than we speak. True dialogue forces us to consider perspectives other than our own. True dialogue makes us confront our own fears, prejudices and stereotypes before we can embrace others. The result of true dialogue is mutual respect, tolerance, understanding and, at times, even agreeing to disagree.

Bishop Howard Hubbard has been a great friend to the Jewish community these past 40 years (yes, a long time!). He has earned respect and admiration as an architect of bridges of understanding between our faiths. Many of us in the rabbinic community enjoy and value the friendship we are blessed to share with the bishop.

The rest of Rabbi Shpeen’s column is here. FYI, this spring Congregation Beth Emeth will celebrate its 170th anniversary as the fourth oldest Reform congregation in the United States.