Our Jewish tradition teaches us that as we are all created in the Divine image, that we must love our neighbors as ourselves. Our task is to build meaningful relationships and mutual understanding with other religious groups. This involves ongoing interaction, learning about each other's core beliefs and critical issues, and working together on issues of mutual concern. Such relationships with religious partners enable us to more effectively engage on issues of concern to the Jewish community. The American Jewish Committee's Department of Interreligious Affairs produces programs at both the national and chapter level that facilitate dialogue and proactive advocacy.
Religious diversity has been both seminal and central to American development and culture, yet most lack a deeper understanding of and connection with the religious "other". The demographic, political, social, and technological changes of the twentieth century alone have brought unprecedented change in our relationships with both Christians on the one hand and Muslims on the other, both globally and in a pluralistic America. Now more than ever we need to be engaged with these groups, in addition to the non-Abrahamic faiths.
The American Jewish Committee's Department for Interreligious Affairs produces interreligious programs at both the national and chapter level that engage in dialogue and proactive advocacy, in developing relationships and networks that foster mutual understanding and trust. These programs work to dispel stereotypes, promote diversity among various religious groups, and facilitate understanding each other's core beliefs and key issues.
Since its inception, AJC has been one of the leading organizations-Jewish or American--committed to strengthening understanding and communication across religious lines. Our goals include communicating concerns and sensitivities of the Jewish community to those of other faiths, and helping the Jewish community understand the concerns and sensitivities of others. Through organizational partnerships and coalitions, formal and informal discussions and conversations, academic conferences, publications, and personal interaction, our efforts have made major contributions to cooperation and mutual respect among peoples of all faiths.
Rabbi David Rosen
Director of the Department for Interreligious Affairs
Director of the Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding
Rabbi Gary Greenebaum
U.S. Director of the Department for Interreligious Affairs
Muslim Jewish Relations
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are the three "Abrahamic faiths," tracing their roots to the time of Abraham. To quote David Harris, our efforts in the area of Muslim-Jewish relations should remind us "of the long, rich, and often mutually nourishing historical relations between Jews and Muslims in many lands and the extraordinary gifts to humankind that Muslim-Jewish interaction generated in advancing knowledge and culture."
As we face the future, AJCs efforts in the area of Muslim-Jewish relations will lay the groundwork for understanding and cooperation across faith group lines in ways that will be extraordinarily important.
AJC interreligious affairs have historically concentrated on Christian-Jewish relations, with new efforts and initiatives involving the Muslim community, as well. Now, as America's population more and more reflects the pluralism of the world faith community, we will identify and pursue opportunities to develop positive and meaningful relationships with all religious communities.
Sharing common roots and some common texts, relations between the Christian and Jewish communities are the model for all programs in the area of interreligious affairs.
Many of AJC's efforts form bonds between the Jewish community and groups representing a multitude of Christian beliefs. Other initiatives involve partnerships with specific Christian denominations, movements, or organizations.
AJC's Interreligious Affairs Timeline