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Interfaith panel of clergy to discuss political, religious climate of Israel

April 20, 2018

PISCATAWAY – After traveling on a mission to the Holy Land, Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders from throughout New Jersey will lead a discussion on the modern State of Israel.

Fr. Guy Selvester, director of the Diocese of Metuchen’s Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs, who was among a number of clergy from New Jersey to make the recent trip, will moderate an interfaith discussion from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. April 25 at the St. John Neumann Pastoral Center, 146 Metlars Lane. All are welcome to attend this free event.

The discussion titled “It’s Complicated: A discussion of Israel, Christianity and Islam and building bridges to peace,” follows an Interfaith Clergy Mission trip to Israel, sponsored by the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey.

The purpose of the mission was to increase awareness among local clergy, of all faiths, of the opportunities for peaceful coexistence and to dispel misconceptions that might exist about the relationship between the State of Israel and Palestine.

During their visit to Israel Jan. 16-23, clergy members traveled to Jerusalem, Shilo, Rawabi, Tiberias, the Golan Heights, Nazareth, Umm el-Fahem and Tel Aviv. Along the way, they visited holy places and met with religious, cultural and secular groups that are working towards peace and coexistence in a land that is often troubled by political and religious strife.

“The mission certainly broadened my horizons and gave me an increased appreciation for how complex the political and religious situation is in Israel,” said Fr. Selvester.

The panel of speakers will include: Dr. Mohammad Ali Chaudry, Ph.D., President of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge; Mr. Keith Krivitzky, CEO of the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey; Rabbi Marc Kline, Monmouth Reform Temple; and Rev. D. Scott Russell, Episcopal Chaplain at Rutgers University.

During the panel discussion, speakers will have an opportunity to openly reflect on the mission, discuss preconceived notions, share their experiences, and consider future interfaith efforts.

The event is sponsored by the Diocese of Metuchen’s Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs, as part of its aim to foster spiritual cooperation and friendly relationships between the Catholics of Central New Jersey and other Christians, as well as people of other faith traditions by initiating conversation and consultation.

Encouraged by his own experience, Fr. Selvester said, “I’d like people of all faiths who attend the April 25 event to see the need for a conversation, where before there wasn’t one, and to experience an opening of the mind, where perhaps there might have been closed-mindedness.”

For information about this event and the Diocese of Metuchen’s Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs, visit diometuchen.org.

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