Christianity

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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No change for Pope's Kol Nidre speech

By Jennifer Lipman, July 5, 2010

The Speaker of the House of Lords has called for a key parliamentary speech by Pope Benedict XVI to be moved from Yom Kippur eve.

Former Labour MP Baroness Hélène Hayman has appealed to the Foreign Office to move the address from the possible late afternoon slot so that Jewish dignitaries can attend without compromising their religious observance.

It will not take place on Yom Kippur itself but with sunset at just before 7pm a late start will leave little time for Jewish parliamentarians to eat before the 25-hour fast day.

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Fury as Methodists vote to boycott Israel

By Marcus Dysch and Simon Rocker, July 1, 2010

The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council said the Methodists’ annual conference should “hang its head in shame” for passing a policy which calls for a boycott of goods from “illegal” Israeli West Bank settlements and blames Israeli occupation as the “key hindrance” to Middle East peace.

Lord Sacks said the implications of the decision would “reverberate across the hitherto harmonious relationship between the faith communities in the UK”.

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Christian Aid in false sex abuse claims

June 3, 2010

Christian Aid was expected to be reported to the Charity Commission this week after it claimed Israeli settlers had sexually abused Palestinian children in Hebron.

The charity issued an unreserved apology following the false claims, made after social worker Miranda Pinch travelled to the West Bank.

She had worked to "monitor human rights abuses" as part of an accompaniment programme part-funded by the charity.

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Catholic is ordered to keep Shabbat

By Paul Berger, June 3, 2010

A Catholic woman has been banned from driving on Saturdays when looking after her seven-year-old Jewish stepson and ordered to cook him only kosher food.

A Chicago judge ordered Laura Derbigney and her husband Nelson to follow these and other rules during an acrimonious custody battle with Mr Derbigney's Orthodox ex-wife.

The judge also stipulated where Mrs Derbigney could shop for kosher food and instructed that the boy must wear a kippah to school.

Mrs Derbigney, a Hispanic Catholic, described the order as "quite intrusive.

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Church values Jewish roots

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2010

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool, Patrick Kelly, said he would rethink his view of Jewish-Christian relations after an address in the city on Monday from a senior Vatican official.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, who oversees the church's relations with Jews, said at Liverpool Hope University: "Cutting itself off from its Jewish roots for centuries weakened the church, a weakness that became evident in the altogether too feeble resistance against the persecution of the Jews."

But without the church, Israel was "in danger of becoming too particularistic and reclusive", he stated.

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Exclusive: Christian Aid made to apologise for sex abuse claim

By Marcus Dysch, May 27, 2010

Christian Aid has apologised “unreservedly” after it claimed Israeli settlers had sexually abused Palestinian children in Hebron.

The false allegations came after Miranda Pinch, a social worker from Winchester, had travelled to the West Bank town in January to “monitor human rights abuses” as part of an accompaniment programme part-funded by the charity.

The 59-year-old, who converted from Judaism to Christianity, returned from the trip and told Christian Aid that a Palestinian headmistress had made allegations of verbal abuse.

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