A growing number of Christian and Jewish congregations in different parts of the country, are sharing their physical facilities with each other and strengthening interfaith ties, reports USA Today (Feb. 16).
In a move that Rabbi Gerald L. Zeilser calls “unprecedented in American life,” individual congregations are using their indigenous spaces and resources to support the ministry of one-time antagonists. In Edison, N.J., Jewish and YMCA leaders have connected their separate facilities on the same property. Members have access to both institutions, including recreational programs.
In Niles, Ill., the after-school and pre-school programs of the YMCA includes religious symbols and teachings of Christianity and Judaism and are taught in a shared building. In Waterloo, Ontario, Jews and Christians together built a worship/service facility to demonstrate their determination to improve relations. Rabbi Zeliser points out a possible limitation to the movement.
He says that such shared space may inadvertently create the illusion of shared doctrine. Diversity, not amalgamation, should be the goal of such programs.
— By Erling Jorstad