Philly-Area Rabbis Travel to Israel as Guests of Catholic Church


The conference is focusing on issues of interfaith cooperation and secularization.

Several area rabbis are in Israel this week to participate in an international meeting between rabbis, cardinals and other leaders from the Catholic Church.

The conference is taking place in the Galilee region of northern Israel and is being sponsored by the Neocatechumenal Way, a faith-based educational group that operates under the auspices of the Catholic Church.

In a news release, the group cited the need “to reflect on the salvific mission of the Jewish people and of the Catholic Church before today’s world,” as the impetus for the event.

At least five local rabbis are taking advantage of the offer to participate in the mission, whose expenses were being covered by the Catholic group. Those rabbis include Vivie Mayer, a teacher at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; Albert Gabbai of Congregation Mikveh Israel in Center City; Howard Addison, soon to retire as the rabbi of Melrose B’nai Israel Emanu-El in Cheltenham; Lewis Eron, director of religious services and Jewish community chaplain at Lions Gate, a retirement community in Vorhees, N.J.; and Robert Tabak, a staff chaplain at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

"I am excited about the program and I am looking forward to meeting with the Catholic priests and bishops to share our views on issues that concern all people of faith,” Eron wrote in an email before flying off to Israel. He added that after the trip he will head to Washington, D.C., to attend a conference on the Vatican II document, Nostra Aetate, at Catholic University. "By the end of the month, I will be a real expert on the Roman Catholic Church."


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