Christianity

Analysis: It's been a bumpy road, but this Pope wants to be our ally

By Ed Kessler, September 2, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI started his papacy in 2005, expressing a desire to follow in the footsteps of John Paul II, for whom reconciliation with Jews and Judaism was a high priority. Since then, Catholic-Jewish relations have not received as much Vatican attention although they continue to face significant challenges.

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Christian festival styles itself as the Gaza Strip

August 26, 2010

Thousands of music fans are expected to attend a four-day festival organised by Christian groups promoting Palestinian causes.

Greenbelt, held at Cheltenham Racecourse from today, will feature performances by Shed Seven and Beverley Knight and a promotional campaign entitled "If Greenbelt was Gaza." The campaign asks fans to "confront the stark contrast" between the event and the "day-to-day life experienced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip" by asking them to consider how they would manage with only one tap on the site or how 12,800 festival-goers would survive without food.

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Lecturer's sacking 'not because of conversion'

By Jennifer Lipman, August 20, 2010

An Israeli lecturer in modern Hebrew who claimed she was made redundant because of her conversion from Judaism to Christianity has had her case of religious discrimination dismissed.

At an employment tribunal in Reading, Judge Lewis upheld Dr Tali Argov's complaint of unfair dismissal, but ruled that the academic was not entitled to any compensation.

Dr Argov had been working at the Oxford Centre for Jewish and Hebrew Studies for eight years when she converted to Anglicanism in January 2008.

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Christian convert lecturer claims discrimination

By Robyn Rosen, August 5, 2010

A lecturer at the Oxford Centre for Jewish and Hebrew Studies has told an employment tribunal that she was discriminated against after she converted from Judaism to Christianity.

Israeli Dr Tali Argov, who was a full-time lector in modern Hebrew, said at the hearing in Reading last week that she was ostracised by colleagues and then made redundant after she converted to Anglicanism in January 2008.

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Ordain women, rabbi urges the Archbishop

By Simon Rocker, July 15, 2010

One of the UK's leading Progressive rabbis has intervened in the Church of England's debate over women bishops, urging the Archbishop of Canterbury: "For goodness sake, ordain them".

Rabbi Alexandra Wright, senior rabbi of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue (LJS), St John's Wood, for the past six years, made her appeal in an open letter to Dr Rowan Williams.

The Church of England Synod - its governing lay council - reaffirmed its support this week for ordaining women bishops, although without a timetable. Traditionalists have threatened to leave the Church if the plan goes ahead.

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Methodist breach not enough

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 15, 2010

I have never believed in withholding praise where praise is due. So I applaud the decision of the Board of Deputies to break off all dialogue with the leadership of the Methodist church.

But I have two reservations. The first is that this breach is not as comprehensive as it should be. The second is that other Christian denominations have not been included in the sanction.

The breach with the Methodists is to be welcomed not simply because they have enthusiastically embraced a report on the Middle East that is a catalogue of lies and half-truths.

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Politicians urge new Pope schedule for Yom Kippur

By Robyn Rosen, July 8, 2010

The Jewish speakers of the House of Lords and Commons are trying to bring forward the time of a scheduled address by the Pope to Parliament in order to avoid a clash with the start of Yom Kippur.

Organisers of Benedict XVI's four-day state visit to Britain from September 16 to 19 have already rearranged the time of the meeting once after concerns that Jewish parliamentarians would be unable attend.

They have scheduled it to end at 6 pm – 56 minutes before the onset of the fast and the start of the Kol Nidre service.

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Analysis: Christian group reveals total bias

By Simon Rocker, July 8, 2010

The Methodist Church's report, "Justice for Palestine and Israel", was bound to raise strong Jewish reaction on any number of grounds.

It blames Israel almost wholly for the impasse in the Middle East peace process with only a glancing reference to Hamas and no mention of its pledge to destroy the state. It offers a history of the conflict derived from sources largely critical of Israel. It says that some Methodists even support a "total boycott" of Israel until "the occupation ends".

But just as troubling is its call to review the validity of Zionism.

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Board of Deputies cuts links with Methodists

By Marcus Dysch, July 8, 2010

The Board of Deputies has broken off all contact with the leadership of the Methodist Church following its endorsement of a report deeply critical of Israel.

A spokesperson for the Board said: "There cannot be any engagement with the leadership of the Methodist Church until such a time that we see signs of a change in their stance."

But both sides vowed to continue interfaith work at a local level, encouraging members of Methodist and Jewish communities to maintain regular dialogue.

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Church of England reviews stake in Israeli rail

By Simon Rocker, July 8, 2010

The Church of England is reviewing its investment in a company building Jerusalem's light railway amid concern that the tramline "will help to cement Israel's hold on occupied east Jerusalem".

But the Church has stopped short of endorsing a campaign urged by Palestinian churches to boycott "everything produced" by Israel's West
Bank occupation.

The boycott call was made in a document known as 'Kairos Palestine', issued by Palestinian Christians last December. It denounces "Israeli occupation of Palestinian land" as "a sin against God and humanity".

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