The Religious of the Holy Land study the local Jewish world

Posted on Feb 28, 2020

February 26, 2020

What do you mean by the word “Jew”? And how do you talk about what happens in the Holy Land? Questions that seem simple in appearance, but whose answers can be very complex. It’s necessary to go back to school in some way and study the surrounding reality carefully: that’s what the Union of Religious of the Holy Land is doing, engaged in a training course on the articulated Christian, Jewish and Muslim local world.

Fr DAVID NEUHAUS, sj
Superior of the Jesuit community of the Holy Land

“This is particularly difficult in a situation where there is a lot of emotion, suffering…and a tendency to identify and feel solidarity with one side against the other. There are ways in which Christians can make their contribution: they are ways that increase the possibilities for peace, justice and reconciliation.”

The Effeta Institute in Bethlehem hosts the training day dedicated to the Jewish world: it explores the internal differences within the religious population but also the existence of a wide secular world, demographic statistics, history.

Fr DAVID NEUHAUS, sj
Superior of the Jesuit community of the Holy Land

“Starting from the facts we then move on to analyse the definitions of the words. And this is the opportunity to discover that the way we risk using these words is linked to stereotypes, negative and racist thoughts based on wrong facts and fears.”

Sr AMANDA MESA
Regional President U.S.R.T.S. – Palestine and Holy Land Region

“The sisters are very interested because the truth is that we don’t know very much about these matters. They are very complex, but the sisters are happy to hear a voice that they know, and that knows the situation as it is. We must not be closed, our minds and ears must always remain open.”

From theory to practice: religious women and men are in fact among those who, daily, live in closer contact with the population of the Holy Land.

Fr DAVID NEUHAUS, sj
Superior of the Jesuit community of the Holy Land

“The hope is that people will go home after this meeting and begin to think – individually and collectively – about how to correct the tendency to remain too attached to emotions and stereotypes, to begin to speak a language that is truly the language of the Church.”