Spotlight on CLAL

Welcome to Spotlight on CLAL. Here you will find stories about what is happening at CLAL and about the work that CLAL is doing across North America. Sometimes we will focus on a program, or a special event, or upon a CLAL faculty member's work and interests. Bookmark this page if you want to get to know us better.

To access the Spotlight on CLAL Archives, click here.

Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard Meets With Pope: CLAL Participates in Major Interfaith Conference in Rome

By Judy Epstein, Director of Public Affairs                                          

In May 2005, Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard, Ph. D., CLAL’s Director of Organizational Development, joined a small group of religious leaders at a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome.  The meeting centered on promoting Jewish-Catholic relations and creating a continuing dialogue.  A second meeting will take place in September.  

“At the meeting, I as a rabbi represented world Jewry as a supportive partner in the Catholic Church’s ongoing commitment to promoting good Jewish-Christian relations,” said Rabbi Blanchard.  “Meeting the Pope was an inspiring encounter with the charismatic and holy leader of one of the world’s most powerful religions.”    

While in Rome, Rabbi Blanchard participated in a key international conference on Catholic-Jewish dialogue with over 100 leading religious figures.  The event was sponsored by the world renowned Focolari, a movement which began in 1943 to promote the ideals of unity and universal brotherhood.  The Focolari has over five million members globally, with millions more in receipt of its many widely translated publications.   

The conference was held at the Focolari Center in Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence.  It focused on “Love of God and Love of Thy Neighbor” in the Jewish and Christian traditions, a central concern of the Focolari. 

“CLAL, as a leader in religious pluralism, has much to offer at the international table,” said Rabbi Blanchard.  “Through these kinds of dialogues, we can begin to look at our suspicions of each other and build a stronger foundation for promoting good Jewish-Catholic relations.”    

Joining Rabbi Blanchard at the conference were such distinguished rabbis as Albert Guigui, Chief Rabbi of Brussels; Jossi Steiner, Chief Rabbi of Slovakia; Abraham Skorka from the Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Ares; David Rosen of the AJC; Jack Bemporad from the Center for Interreligious Understanding, and Joseph Ehrenkranz from the Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding at Sacred Heart University.  Also present were such leading Catholic officials as Cardinal Casper, President of the Papal’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. 

In his presentation, Rabbi Blanchard offered a personal account on the meaning of “Love of God and Thy Neighbor.”  Reflecting Jewishly, he looked at the spiritual significance of the topic through his own life experience. 

Highlights of the conference will be published and made available.  Due to the success of the program, Rabbi Blanchard has been invited back to participate with the Focolari and continue the conversation on furthering interfaith relations with the Pope.



To access the Spotlight on CLAL Archives, click here.
To receive the Spotlight on CLAL column by email on a regular basis, complete the box below:
 Receive CLAL Spotlight! 

Privacy Policy      Terms of Use
Copyright c. 2001, CLAL - The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.