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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

ADL's Joseph L. Lichten: Vatican II Change Agent, Vatican Knight Defender of Talmud

ADL Dr. Joseph L. Lichten Award In Catholic-Jewish Relations


The Anti-Defamation League Dr. Joseph L. Lichten Award in Catholic-Jewish Relations was established in 2005 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, part of the Second Vatican Council's reforms that changed the nature of the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community. The Award is named in honor of Joseph Lichten, ADL's Director of Catholic-Jewish Relations, who was present throughout the deliberations of Vatican II and was one of the significant figures in the history of the Second Vatican Council.

Dr. Joseph Lichten, with a PhD in Catholic Canon Law, was born and educated in Poland. From 1941-1945 he served as a consultant and advisor on eastern European affairs to the embassy of the Polish government in exile. When the Communists took control of his native country, he left its diplomatic service and became an American citizen.

Dr. Lichten joined ADL in 1945. In 1953 he started the very first Catholic-Jewish dialogue in the United States. Over the years, he organized and participated in hundreds of ADL Catholic-Jewish interfaith conferences, workshops and colloquia with Catholic clergy, scholars and lay leaders.

As head of ADL's Vatican Liaison Office, he was given the rare gift of an office in the Vatican itself and he continued to teach at the North American college, where only the finest young Americans studying for the priesthood are privileged to attend.

In 1986 Pope John Paul II named him a knight commander of the pontifical equestrian order of St. Gregory the Great, the first American Jew to be so honored "for conspicuous virtue and notable accomplishment on behalf of the Roman Catholic church and society."

During the deliberations of the Second Vatican council, he gave every bishop a copy of an ADL-sponsored survey of American anti-Semitism which pointed out the influence of the deicide charge on American Catholics. The final council vote on Nostra Aetate showed the church's special concern and Joe Lichten's profound influence.


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The first ADL Dr. Joseph L. Lichten Award in Catholic-Jewish Relations was presented to Walter Cardinal Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and President of the Pontifical Commission on Religious Relations with the Jews, in Rome, on December 15, 2005.

http://www.adl.org/Interfaith/lichten_award.asp

2 comments:

Itzchak said...

"Why Judaism Knows That Jesus Is Not the Messiah."
It is important to understand why Jews don't believe in Jesus. The purpose is not to disparage other religions, but rather to clarify the Jewish position. The more data that's available, the better-informed choices people can make about their spiritual path.

Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:

1) Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies.

2) Jesus did not embody the personal qualifications of the Messiah.

3) Biblical verses "referring" to Jesus are mistranslations.

4) Jewish belief is based on national revelation.

At the end of this article, we will examine these additional topics:

5) Christianity contradicts Jewish theology

6) Jews and Gentiles

7) Bringing the Messiah

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1) JESUS DID NOT FULFILL THE MESSIANIC PROPHECIES

What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? The Bible says that he will:

A. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).

B. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).

C. Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4)

D. Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: "God will be King over all the world -- on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One" (Zechariah 14:9).

The historical fact is that Jesus fulfilled none of these messianic prophecies.

Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming, but Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright, and no concept of a second coming exists.

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2) JESUS DID NOT EMBODY THE PERSONAL QUALIFICATIONS OF MESSIAH

A. MESSIAH AS PROPHET

Jesus was not a prophet. Prophecy can only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry. During the time of Ezra (circa 300 BCE), when the majority of Jews refused to move from Babylon to Israel, prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophets -- Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

Jesus appeared on the scene approximately 350 years after prophecy had ended.

B. DESCENDENT OF DAVID

The Messiah must be descended on his father's side from King David (see Genesis 49:10 and Isaiah 11:1). According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father -- and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father's side from King David!

C. TORAH OBSERVANCE

The Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torah observance. The Torah states that all mitzvot remain binding forever, and anyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a false prophet. (Deut. 13:1-4)

Throughout the New Testament, Jesus contradicts the Torah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable. For example, John 9:14 records that Jesus made a paste in violation of Shabbat, which caused the Pharisees to say (verse 16), "He does not observe Shabbat!"

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3) MISTRANSLATED VERSES "REFERRING" TO JESUS

Biblical verses can only be understood by studying the original Hebrew text -- which reveals many discrepancies in the Christian translation.

A. VIRGIN BIRTH

The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from the verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an "alma" as giving birth. The word "alma" has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as "virgin." This accords Jesus' birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods.

B. CRUCIFIXION

The verse in Psalms 22:17 reads: "Like a lion, they are at my hands and feet." The Hebrew word ki-ari (like a lion) is grammatically similar to the word "gouged." Thus Christianity reads the verse as a reference to crucifixion: "They pierced my hands and feet."

C. SUFFERING SERVANT

Christianity claims that Isaiah chapter 53 refers to Jesus, as the "suffering servant."

In actuality, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme of chapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. The prophecies are written in the singular form because the Jews ("Israel") are regarded as one unit. The Torah is filled with examples of the Jewish nation referred to with a singular pronoun.

Ironically, Isaiah's prophecies of persecution refer in part to the 11th century when Jews were tortured and killed by Crusaders who acted in the name of Jesus.

From where did these mistranslations stem? St. Gregory, 4th century Bishop of Nanianzus, wrote: "A little jargon is all that is necessary to impose on the people. The less they comprehend, the more they admire."

Nerissa said...

Interesting to know.