Commonweal devotes the first issue of each new year to a discussion of ecumenical or interreligious questions. This year we feature the contributions of two distinguished Jewish scholars, Michael Marrus and Eugene Borowitz.
Both men have long been interested in and frequent contributors to the Catholic-Jewish dialogue. Marrus’s field of expertise is the Holocaust, and his essay (“The Missing,” page 11) describes the complications and misunderstandings on both sides in negotiations between the Vatican and various Jewish leaders over the return of Jewish children hidden from the Nazis by Catholics during World War II. Borowitz’s essay (“A Nearness in Difference,” page 17) is an appreciative reflection on the transformation of Jewish-Catholic theological dialogue in the forty years since Vatican II’s declaration Nostra aetate. As Borowitz reminds us, it was not until after World War II that theologians began to “embrace the idea of deepening their understanding of their own faith through contact with other faiths.” For Jews, Borowitz writes, the imperative to interreligious dialogue is found in the Bible. God’s first covenant with Noah was made with “all the nations,” and in theological exchange with Christians and others, Jews “seek out the faithful children of the covenant God made with the people of all nations and work with them to make God’s name one on earth as God is one in heaven.”