Delegation of Cardinals Meets With YU Educators and Leaders – Two-day Symposium Organized by WJC

Chancellor Norman Lamm, Edward Cardinal Egan and President Richard M. Joel

Jan 20, 2004 — At the initiative of the World Jewish Congress, an international group of Catholic cardinals and monsignors met with leaders and educators from Yeshiva University on Monday, Jan. 19 at YU’s Wilf Campus in Washington Heights.

The distinguished Catholic leaders from Angola, Austria, France, Germany, India, Italy, the US and Canada, included Cardinal Christoph Schonborn from Vienna, Cardinal Jean Marie Lustiger from Paris, and Cardinal Edward Egan from New York. They met with Rabbi Norman Lamm, Chancellor of Yeshiva University and Rosh HaYeshiva (dean) of its affiliated seminary Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), with Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel, and Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS, Rabbi Zevulun Charlop.

The high level delegation discussed with YU leadership matters of mutual concern, such as the serious situations facing both faith communities in the tumultuous conditions that now prevail worldwide, and how belief and the practice of faith can best thrive in a scientific, secular “technopolis.” Rather than dealing with technology, the meeting focused on broader universal problems of special interest to both world religions in an effort to elicit the insights each can bring to the issues.

This was perhaps the first and largest ever delegation of Catholic cardinals to discuss such matters with American Jewish religious leadership. One of the topics presented by Rabbi Lamm and President Joel is how YU and the Modern Orthodox world have been successful in their approach to living a life of faith in step with the modern world, known as Torah Umadda (the synthesis of Western culture and study of Torah).

President Joel noted that, “Yeshiva University is committed to the values and ideals of Judaism. Our undergraduate schools, medical, law and professional schools are imbued with the values, ethics, and principles of the Torah, values which inform much of Western civilization. People of all faiths are intrigued by how YU transmits its values, beliefs, and ethics in a manner that enables its students and alumni to thrive as both religiously engaged and fully involved in contemporary life at its best.”

Rabbi Lamm, who has written several books on the subject, elaborated: “For us, the study of Torah, not theology per se, is the key to Judaism’s dynamism. Delving intellectually in Torah text leads to faith and is in itself an act of communion with the Divine. The advancement of science and humanistic culture is part of the mission of the Torah Umadda Jew.”

Following the meeting at Yeshiva University, the delegation of cardinals and monsignors met with Jewish leaders at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan for two days of dialogue designed to foster greater mutual understanding and respect.

Leave a Reply