Brief Newsletter of Jewish-Christian Friendship of Valencia (Spain)

The Jewish Christian Friendship of Valencia is an association recognised by the Archbishop on 20th January 1994, which aims are

  1. a) To study in the biblical roots of our faith to better understand the religious and cultural grounds in which Christianism is born “ Jesus Christ, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to your people Israel” and which is the beginning of the Apostolic Church.
  2. b) To promote mutual knowledge of both religions and friendship with the Jewish People, with which we have strong ties, according to the instructions of the declaration “Nostra Aetae” of the Vatican Council II

Its territorial realm is the diocese of Valencia and social address is in 54, Cirilo Amoros Street (a Dominican Convent) in the city of Valencia.

The association promotes Bible Study being faithful to the Catholic Church doctrines and teachings and in the same way promotes the study of the Jews and their culture both historic and current relations between Jews and Christians. For this reason courses and conferences are organised, we also have a library and documentation centre and collaborates with other groups and people with the same aims

We have a website  where you can find past conferences and future activities as well a short background

The Friendship is financed mainly by annual membership fees, about 60 members at present, who collaborates with 50 euros annually. Members both men and women are members in equal proportion, being mainly from Christian Spanish origins.

The Friendship was inspired by Sister Ionel Mihalovici, NDS, the Director of Centro de Estudios Judeo-Cristianos of Madrid, that publishes the magazine “El Olivo” (The Olive Tree). Sister Ionel encouraged various Valencia’s subscribers of mentioned magazine (as Jose Miguel Sustaeta, Cannoning of the Cathedral and retired Professor of the Liturgy of Theological Faculty, as Teresa Soler Llopis, as Mari Cruz Tomas Barrachina and the married couple Francisco Fontana Tormo and Rosa Maria Vinat Collado) to form a group of Jewish-Christian Friendship. When we met at the beginning of 1989, the former Archbishop Miguel Roca, also a subscriber of the same magazine, encouraged us and he pronounced his verbal approval.

Therefore the group decided to initiate the first activities. A premise has been given to be able to use at the Dominican Convent, by Juan Bosch OP, Delegate of Ecumenism, at the mentioned above address. The first activity was celebrated in 1990, a Seder Haggada Pesaj, it was directed by Jose Miguel Sustaeta, where the relationship the Jewish Easter and the Christian Eucharist was seen.

The first conference was “Jesus Christ from the Jewish point of view” by the Rabbi Baruj Garzon, on the 10th June 1991 at the Faculty of Theology. After which Sister Ionel Mihalovici, came to Valencia to give a conference “The origins of the Jewish-Christian Friendship” the 19th June 1992.

  1. Agustin Garcia-Gasco, new Archbishop of Valencia, gave his Approved to the Statutes of the Association on the 20th January 1994. The Foundational Assembly was the 2th February 1994, Holiday of the Presentation at the Temple, for memberships inscription and to initiate at the Registry Office of Associations of the Generalitat Valencia.

From the very beginning the association has been on good terms with the Jewish Community of Valencia and promotes mutual knowledge between Jews and Christians through various activities, such as monthly conferences and trips to places of interesting for Jews and Christians.

Throughout the 144 conferences over the years, the goals of the conferences, which might stand out the most could be by Samuel Toledano “Diplomatic relations between the Israel and the Vatican” (23-11-1994), Sor Esperanza Mary NDS “Jerusalem in the modern Israeli Literature” (21-4-1996), Prof. Shalom Rosemberg, Professor of Philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem “The Jewish Spirituality in Post-Modernism” (14-10-2001) Cardinal Jean Marie Lustiger, Archbishop of Paris “The friendship between Jews and Christians and its meaning for Christians” (6-6-2005), Samuel Hadas, the first Ambassador of Israel in Spain and the Vatican “The sinuous ways to relations for Israel for Spain and the Vatican” (9-7-2008), Prof. Daniel Fainstein, Rector of the Hebrew University in Mexico Yosef Soloveitchik and the solitude of Man of Faith” (10-6-2009) and the Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon “The Present Situation of Jewish-Christian Dialogue” (14-8-2011)

Delegates from the association have also attended two conventions of ICCJ, the first meeting was “The Other as mystery and challenge, The significance of the Jewish People for the Christian Church and of the Christian Church for the Jewish People” Rome, 7-11 September 1997) which was cordially welcomed by His Holy Pope John Paul II in the General Audience on the 10th September and a second encounter “Convivencia – Enhancing Identity through Encounter between Jews, Christians and Muslims” Seville 2-6 July 2000).

The realisation of our city of the XIX Symposium Spanish-Israeli – The family social structures on the transmission of culture” should stand out, in October 2006, with collaboration of the Jewish-Christian Study Centre of Madrid and the University CEU Saint Paul, which had the assistance of the outstanding intellectual Spanish and Israeli.

The Association promotes journeys and pilgrimages to places of interest for Jews and Christians. These are trips we have done so far

A trip to Besalu and the city of Toledo and to the Jewish Quarters in Sagunto, in 2002 and 2003.

For 10th anniversary of the association we celebrated with a pilgrimage to Rome. We visited the Ardeatines Graves, symbolic place for the democratic Italy and we welcomed by the General Audience by His Holy Father Pope John Paul II who greeted two delegates from the association, one Christian and the other Jew. There was also an encounter with Mons. Norbert Hoffman, Secretary of the Pontifical Committee for the relations with the Jewish People and also we visited the Great Synagogue in Rome.

A trip to Jewish Quarters in Paris, a group of 25 people travelled to Paris to see Jewish Quarters. The coordination of the journey was done by F. Patrick Desbois, the French Episcopal Conference Delegate for Jewish People. We visited the Synagogue “De la Victoire” with greeting to the Rabbi Gilles Bernheim and we visited the Jewish Museum, the Memorial of the Shoa and the SIDIC Centre. A nice walk through the rue Rossiers in the Jewish Quarters and visiting shops and bookshops.

Pilmigrame to Israel (April 2006) with 45 group members attendance. Visiting divers emblematic Christian and Jewish  places, such as the Holy Grave and the Qotel and the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, the Annunciation Basilica in Nazareth, the Safed Synagogues and the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv.

Trip to Jewish London (March 2007) visiting to Jewish Museum, the headquarters ICCJ, the Sisters of Sion Headquarters and attending the arvit in the New London Synagogue.

Trip to Poland-Prague (July 2007) visiting the Synagogues of Prague and Krakow. In Auschwitz we prayed in the martyred place of Saint Maximilian Kolbe and in one of the barracks of the Birkenau Camp we pronounced some very significant words referring to the Holocaust and we prayed for all of the Jewish and Non-Jewish victims. In the city of Warsaw a tribute was paid to the Monument of the Rebellion of the Getto placing a wreath for the victims.

Trip to Germany (July 2008) visiting the cities of Aachen, Erfurt, Wartburg, Weimar, Leipzig and Wittenberg and the Buchenwald Camps. In Berlin we visited to Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Memorial.

Trip to the Jewish Quarters in Mallorca (December 2009)

Trip to Lyon-Izieu, visiting to Great Synagogue in Lyon and the Memorial House in Izieu. We visited the Monasteries of Boege, Taize and Salette. We also visited the Reformation Wall and the Palace of Nations in Geneva.

Pilgrimage to Rome (January 2012) Meeting with the association “Amizi Catolici d´Israele” and with the Mordejai Lewi, Ambassador of Israel in the Vatican. Also reunion with Mons. Norbert Hoffman, Secretary of the Pontifical Committee for the relations with the Jewish People and meeting with the Jewish-Christian Friendship of Rome. We attended Holy Mass in Saint Andrea delle Fratte and we finally visited the Great Synagogue.