American Jewish Leaders Welcome Letter from the Muslim Community Calling for Dialogue and Understanding

Clearly, the time for a respectful consideration of the issues that unite us and also of the issues that divide us has come; indeed, it has been too long postponed

Last week Muslim scholars from the Center for Muslim-Jewish Relations issued an open letter to the Jewish Community calling for dialogue and understanding. The full letter can be found online at

http://www.woolfinstitute.cam.ac.uk/cmjr/assets/img/letter.pdf  

In response the leadership of the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist Jewish Movements in North America made the following statement:

We deeply appreciate the hand extended in a letter from Muslim scholars at The Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations, and we clasp that hand willingly. That we have much to learn from and about each other is clear – sometimes painfully clear. We look forward to the shared work of thoughtful dialogue.

We appreciate in particular the letter’s assertion, regarding the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, that “The loss of every single life is a loss to humanity and a bloody stain on the tapestry of history. We call for a peaceful resolution that will assure mutual respect, prosperity and security to both Palestinians and Israelis, while allowing the Palestinian people their rights to self-determination”. We whole-heartedly share that perspective, and hope that our exploration of the troubling issues will enable us to understand each other’s narratives and to come together in explicit and stern denunciation of terrorism.

Clearly, the time for a respectful consideration of the issues that unite us and also of the issues that divide us has come; indeed, it has been too long postponed.

So let us begin.

Rabbi Jerome Epstein, Executive Vice President United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Dr. Carl Sheingold, Executive Vice President Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism