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Chief Rabbi launches interfaith project with Archbishop of Canterbury

    The Chief Rabbi has launched a project with the Archbishop of Canterbury aimed at promoting Christian and Jewish dialogue, as part of National Interfaith Week.

    "In Good Faith" aims to encourage priests and rabbis who live alongside each other to explore concerns about religious extremism, and to work together on projects over the next year.

    Speaking at the launch of the project at Lambeth Palace on Monday, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: “Today, we are gathering together as family.

    “We come from distinct, different religious traditions, but we are mindful of the fact that we are all children of the one true God.

    “The most important part of today is tomorrow. It is what will result as a consequence of our collaboration.”

    During the day rabbis and priests considered four topics: the challenge of sustaining faith communities, combating religious extremism, the Holy Land and its implications for inter-religious relations, and opportunities to contribute towards good together.

    Rabbi Mirvis said: “The strength of what we are doing is to encourage us all to work together to guarantee that the outstanding relationships that we have at leadership level will trickle down to the grassroots within our communities, so that indeed as faith leaders, we will make a change in this challenging world of ours.”

    The project was inspired by the faith leaders' own friendship, the Archbishop Justin Welby explained: “It is in the everyday conversations, the grassroots initiatives and the building of local bridges between Christians and Jews, our synagogues and churches, that we will see real change and the hope for a divided world and nation.

    “I am so grateful to you for signalling hope when the temptation is to succumb to world-weary cynicism, pessimism, defeatism and even despair.”

    Also expected to take place, as part of the week-long festival of events, is the second annual Interfaith Summit.

    Young leaders of different faiths will come together to discuss issues such as the refugee crisis, mental health and Brexit, at the summit on Thursday.

    It is expected to attract 300 people, offering workshops including sessions with the Muslim-Jewish theatre group Muju.

    Organisers of the summit, which is supported by the Pears Foundation, are alumni of the Three Faiths Forum's ParliaMentors programme.

    Hashim Bhatti, one of the organisers, said: “The tensions and divisions that have surfaced since the Brexit vote, the ongoing refugee crisis, as well as the rise in reported hate crimes in Britain, show that the need for events like the Interfaith Summit is greater than ever.

    “As young people from a wide range of faith and belief backgrounds we are uniquely placed to make a positive difference on these issues, by building a movement for change across our different communities.”

    The Joseph Interfaith Foundation is also expected to announce a new project as part of Interfaith Week, to help refugees.

    The project co-ordinator for the only national joint Muslim-Jewish interfaith organisation, said the project which is to be announced on Thursday, will help young refugees integrate into British society smoothly.

    He said: “The aim of this project is to inform these young people and offer them support from various professional and religious bodies to help them build resilience to being misled, and help them to integrate more easily into the community and society.”

    Meanwhile, the Council of Christians and Jews is running a series of events to promote interfaith dialogue and challenge the negativity surrounding faith at university.

    Events include a Shabbat dinner between University of Coventry and University of Warick students, and a "Collectathon" by Bristol University in conjunction with Mitzvah Day.

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