February 19, 2008 – Jerusalem – The American Jewish Committee hosted a celebratory evening event at the Second International Hindu-Jewish Summit in Jerusalem last night.
The February 18 – 20 summit brings together 20 Hindu leaders, including some of the most important names in the contemporary Hindu world, with Jewish leaders including the Chief Rabbis of the State of Israel and the Rabbinate’s Commission for Interreligious Dialogue.
"Almost by definition, diplomatic relationships are superficial and transient,” said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s International Director of Interreligious Affairs. “By developing and deepening interreligious understanding and intercultural ties, one gives far more substance and durability to such relationships.”
The International Hindu-Jewish summits are an initiative of the World Council of Religious Leaders (WCORL), and are held under the auspices of the All India Dharma Acharya Seba and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
The first summit took place last year in Delhi and explored commonalities in the respective Jewish and Hindu traditions and identities. In Delhi the delegates committed to continue meeting and develop initiatives to promote social justice, religious freedom and mutual education about Hinduism and Judaism.
This week’s summit in Jerusalem has been organized in cooperation with AJC and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The main colloquium took place yesterday in Jerusalem, followed by a celebratory dinner at Beit Moses, AJC’s Israel/Middle East Office. While in Israel, the leaders also are meeting with President Shimon Peres, government ministers, as well as Christian and Muslim religious leadership.
Rabbi Rosen, who is also a member of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel's Commission for Interreligious Dialog, and participated in the first summit, expressed his deep satisfaction that AJC is playing such a key role in this bilateral development.
“Never before has such a high level delegation of Hindu leaders visited Israel, let alone for an official dialogue with the Israeli religious establishment and under national auspices," said Rabbi Rosen.