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Rabbi Skorka Visits SCU

Akiba Lerner

This winter quarter I was honored to host Rabbi Abraham Skorka to our campus and to my class on Jewish Philosophy. R. Skorka is most famous for having written a book with Pope Francis titled, On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century (2013). In my Jewish philosophy class we had just completed a section devoted to inter-religious dialogue culminating in the reading of his book, and therefore were delighted to have R. Skorka come and answer questions about his book and his relationship with the Pope. During the question and answer period, students raised questions covering a diverse field of topics ranging from concerns over contemporary Argentinian politics in the wake of the death of the chief investigator into the bombing of the Jewish community center to the challenges of creating a dialogue between science and religion. Later in the afternoon R. Skorka gave a much larger talk addressed to the entire campus community and other community organizations on the nature of his relationship with the Pope and the importance of inter-religious dialogue. After his talk in the St. Clare room, Bishop McGrath and Rabbi Magat from the local community joined him on stage for a panel discussion on inter-religious dialogue. From R. Skorka’s and the other participants in the discussions throughout the day, the big take away was the importance of personal relations and friendships in making genuine dialogue work. Reading philosophical reflections on the nature of dialogue this past quarter and then having a chance to experience inter-religious dialogue in action was a wonderful moment for all who participated. Overall, this was a great moment for both the university and for those committed to ecumenical dialogue in this area.

religious studies