Father David Neuhaus, Latin Patriarchal Vicar, responsible for the Saint James Vicariate for Hebrew Speaking Catholics in Israel, has published a pastoral letter on the occasion of the 60th anniversary since the founding of the Work of Saint James. The letter was published on the Feast of Edith Stein, August 9, 2015.

Read here

NEW BOOK !

by Rabbi Dr. Mark Kinzer
"Searching Her Own Mystery"

with foreword of Card. Christoph Schonborn - Archibishop of Vienna, Austria

Read an excerpt: "On April 27, 2014 the Catholic Church officially recognized Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II as saints. Media reports focused on the appeal these two figures held for rival segments of the Church; John XXIII inspired progressives, while John Paul II earned the devotion of traditionalists. Little attention was given to the revolution in Catholic teaching and sensibility that these two Popes jointly accomplished;John XXIII as initiator, John Paul II as interpreter, emblematic personality, and implementer." Read more (entire first chapter)

This book is available at Wipf and Stock, Amazon (also Kindle edition)

INTERVIEW - JUNE 9th, 2015

The Jewish People and the Identity of the Church  

BOOK REVIEW

From Saint James Vicariate For Hebrew Speaking Catholics in Israel
by Fr. David Neuhaus

Rabbi Mark Kinzer, a foremost Messianic Jewish theologian has published a new book on Nostra Aetate and its implications for Christian theology and dialogue with the Jews. Father David reports:

Rabbi Mark Kinzer, Messianic leader of the Zera Avraham Congregation in Ann Arbor, Michigan (b. 1952), has recently published a book on Nostra Aetate and its significance for Jews and Christians, Searching Her Own Mystery: Nostra Aetate, the Jewish People and the Identity of the Church (Eugene, Cascade Books, 2015). The book is an important contribution to the interpretation of Nostra Aetate and to the ongoing dialogue between Jews and Catholics, particularly those Jews who do believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

This year is the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the document that redefines the Catholic Church’s teaching on the relationship with members of other religions. The document was formulated during the Second Vatican Council, a council that brought together the leaders of the Catholic Church from all over the world. They deliberated for three years, from 1962 until 1965, redefining the Church’s relationship with the modern world and formulating the Church teaching within the context of the twentieth century. Nostra Aetate, translated “in our times”, redefined the attitude of the Catholic Church towards non-Christian religions. Discussions on the formulation of the document that became Nostra Aetate began with discussions on the attitude of the Catholic Church towards Jews and Judaism and this subject, the content of paragraph 4, is the longest part of the text.

Rabbi Kinzer defines four major changes evoked by Nostra Aetate in its long paragraph on the Jews and Judaism:

- The rejection of the claim that the Jews killed Christ. This tragically wrong interpretation of the Gospel has had devastating consequences for the Jews throughout the past two thousand years of history. The Council denounced anti-Semitism and all forms of racism!

- The reminder that Jews and Christians have a shared heritage not only focused on the Old Testament as a common patrimony but also emphasized that Yeshua, his Blessed Mother, the apostles and the early Church are Jewish.

- The insistence that the Jews are a chosen people and have an irrevocable vocation. They are not rejected by God because God is always faithful despite our faithlessness. In a particularly revolutionary formulation, the document, basing itself on Romans 11:29, a text never cited before in the Magisterium of the Church, said: “God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues.”

- Finally, Kinzer claims that the document drives home the realization that the Church and the Jews are inextricably linked in the sight of God. It is from here that he derives the title of his book, quoting the beginning of paragraph 4: “As the sacred synod searches into the mystery of the Church, it remembers the bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham's stock”.

The renewal and purification of memory led to a change in thought and language that transformed a “teaching of contempt”, a phrase formulated by the Jewish French historian Jules Isaac, who encountered Pope John XXIII in 1960, into a “teaching of respect”.

Kinzer’s book goes on to deepen an understanding of the theological challenges that result from Nostra Aetate, examining ecclesiology, the sacraments of priesthood, baptism and Eucharist and challenging the Church and the Jewish people to pursue an understanding of sacramental presence that brings them ever closer together. The book includes fascinating sections on Kinzer’s own spiritual journey and the ongoing dialogue between Messianic Jews and Catholics.

 

 

 

“It is impossible to separate the Church of Yeshua from the Jewish peoplehood, and it is also impossible to separate the Jewish people from the person of Yeshua of Nazareth, the crucified and resurrected Messiah. Therefore, the Jewish people and the Christian Churches are so intimately connected that it is impossible to clearly understand one without the other…” (Mark Kinzer – Paris 2011)

“Our relationships express both the reality of Jewish peoplehood—our bond as Jews which transcends our theological and organizational differences—and the reality of our common union with the Messiah through the Spirit”. (Mark Kinzer – Helsinki 2010)

Read about the members'
personal experience of the HC 

 

GO to the Statements' PAGE 

In particular, GO to: 

Boris Balter

"For me, being Jewish has never been a problem..." (read more)

Jacques Benjamin Doukhan

"When I accepted the invitation to join the Helsinki Consultation it was because I was intrigued..." (read more)

Richard Harvey

"I am delighted of being part of this growing group of Jewish believers in Yeshua..." (read more)

Mark S. Kinzer

"For the first twenty years of my life as a disciple of Yeshua I was a member of an ecumenical community..." (read more)

Antoine Levy

"In hindsight, I would describe my discovery of Christian faith at the age of 23 as a wonderful disaster..." (read more)

Lisa Loden

"As an Israeli Messianic Jew with scholarly interests, the Helsinki Consultation provides a unique forum..." (read more)

David Neuhaus

"I became a believer in Yeshua through the luminous witness of a Russian Orthodox nun..." (read more)

Svetlana Panich

"When I came to the Helsinki Consultation for the first time in 2010, I was sure that it would be just one more interesting academic encounter among others..." (read more)

Vladimir Pikman

"I believe the visible unity of sincere followers of Yeshua the Messiah reveals the mystery of the very divine nature and calling of Yeshua..." (read more

You can find here some books and articles written by the participants and other publications.

CONSULTATIONS

In this section you can read the papers and the final statements of all the previous -as well as this year's- consultations. 

 

2017 - in KRAKOW

Go to page here

READ the Press Release here

Go to the presentations here

2015 - in MOSCOW 

Go to page here 

READ the Press Release here

GO to the presentations here

2017 - in KRAKOW

Go to page here

READ the Press Release here

Go to the presentations here

2015 - in MOSCOW 

Go to page here 

READ the Press Release here

GO to the presentations here

2014 - in the NETHERLANDS  

Read 2014 Statement here.

Go to the relevant articles here

 2013 - in OSLO  

Read 2013 Statement here.

Go to the relevant articles here

2012 - in BERLIN

      Read 2012 Statement here

      Go to the relevant articles here 

2011 - in PARIS

      Read 2011 Statement here

      Go to the relevant articles here 

2010 - in HELSINKI

      Read 2010 Statement here.

 

 

LIKE US on

PERSONAL STATEMENTS

Introduction

Those who are interested in learning more might like to be informed about the Consultation not only in terms of theological concepts and insights but also in terms of a concrete human and spiritual experience. Reading through these series of statements and witnesses is the best possible confirmation of the essential claim that each one of them makes. The Consultation has granted all its members access to an experience of spiritual unity which goes beyond the countless differences of religious affiliation, cultural background, personal character and even political convictions that continue to separate them. Not even the tense theological discussions occurring during the rounds of the Consultation have succeeded in imperiling this common experience of unity. On the contrary, the very possibility of having these difficult discussions is a witness to the firmness of the love and trust that unite us at the deepest level of our beings. We acknowledge something here that transcends our human inclinations and abilities. The experience of this loving unity or unifying love gushes forth at the point where our Jewish identity and our commitment to Yeshua meet. We receive it as a crucial gift from HaShem himself. Ultimately, we are convinced that the Consultation will bear fruit to the extent to which it will keep faithful to this gift and be thankful for it.

Boris Balter

For me, being Jewish has never been a problem. As is normal in Russian culture, I made no distinction between my Jewish and non-Jewish friends and acquaintances. Therefore, my becoming Christian as an adult didn’t create any inner conflict. Christianity was in the spiritual and personal realm, while Jewishness was national, hence earthly and collective.

My contact with the Helsinki consultation opened my eyes to the possibility that, while such had been my personally balanced mental state, God’s view might be different. That is, God might have a way to constructively use my Jewishness as a particle in His design – provided my conscious acceptance, of course. On reassessing some events in my life, I came to see them as signs that this was indeed so. Also, the well-known passages by St. Paul on the continuing role of Jews in the Church suddenly acquired a personal ring. In this way, the pair Jewish - Christian ceased to be something evident and became challenging and paradoxical.

The strangely personal kind of relationships that have emerged among us members of the Helsinki consultation – notwithstanding the hugely different cultural backgrounds –are what I see as an additional sign that God’s hand is behind this. We are now a team that delves into a challenging realm. Simple solutions, such as ‘forget your Jewishness now that you are a Christian’ or ‘be Jewish nationally and Christian spiritually’ now seem inadequate. We have no adequate solution so far, only questions, and we anticipate that the solution will be paradoxical – no less than Christ himself – and, as we came to see in our meetings, than Jewishness itself. Read his bio

 Top

 

Jacques Doukhan

When I accepted the invitation to join the Helsinki Consultation it was because I was intrigued by this group that was composed of strange people like me, Jews who discovered the truth of the Messiah without denying their Jewish identity, people who dared to challenge the course of Jewish-Christian history. Now that I have spent several sessions with those men and women, debating, but also learning from each other, thinking about the great issues but also laughing together, I have one more reason: the enjoyment each other’s humanity. I do not know where this consultation will lead; but let the spirit blow where it wills (John 3:8). Read his bio

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Richard Harvey

I am delighted to be part of this growing group of Jewish believers in Yeshua (Jesus) from different countries, confessions and backgrounds. Our friendship and fellowship together is a rich and profound personal reminder of our shared faith in the Messiah and our identity as Jews. I greatly appreciate the interaction, discussions and mutual understanding which are developing, on both theological and personal levels. As a previous President of the International Messianic Jewish Alliance, I recognize the strategic and vital role the Helsinki Consultation can play in alerting Jewish believers in Yeshua (Jesus) to the ongoing relationships and responsibilities they bear as both members of the universal Body of Christ, and as part of the Jewish people. The Helsinki Consultation brings together some of the finest theological thinking on these questions as we ponder the mystery of God's ongoing election of Israel, God's continuing purposes for a visible Jewish presence within the Church, and the calling of all believers to demonstrate both our different identities and our growing unity in the Messiah. Read his bio

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Mark Kinzer

For the first twenty years of my life as a disciple of Yeshua, I was a member of an ecumenical community -- founded by Roman Catholics, but including Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, and Messianic Jews. After that period, I became a leader in the Messianic Jewish movement. For all these years, my commitment to Yeshua, to Jewish identity, and to intercultural and interdenominational unity gave shape to my sense of personal mission. However, I was unable to bring these all together in one package until I met Fr. Antoine Levy. He was the first Jewish disciple of Yeshua I had met outside of the Messianic Jewish movement who was passionately committed to the same three core values. He introduced me to others like himself, and the Helsinki Consultation was born. It is now among my greatest joys to be able to live out a new kind of ecumenism among the Jewish disciples of Yeshua. Read his bio

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Antoine Levy 

In hindsight, I would describe my discovery of Christian faith at the age of 23 as a wonderful disaster. I was raised in the both fiercely Jewish and quintessentially atheistic environment which is typical of a very small fringe of the French intelligentsia, mostly composed of second generation immigrants from Eastern Europe. Becoming a Catholic and a Dominican brother a couple of years later gave me the exhilarating opportunity to bring my personal stone to the demolition of what St. Paul calls the “wall of hatred” between Jews and Gentiles. In actual fact, I suddenly found myself surrounded by a multitude of new “brothers” and “sisters” who were Gentiles and as to their overwhelming majority, fairly impervious to the temptations of intellectual life. I identify the wonderful side of my conversion with the experience of a love that is all the more authentic in that it transcends personal sympathies and social or ethnic commonalities. This experience unquestionably prevailed over the disastrous dimension associated with any Jewish conversion to Christianity; namely, that of being cut off from this heteroclite and deeply cherished nation that bestows on its members, zealous talmudists and practicing communists alike, the right to call themselves Jews on the basis of their common rejection of Christianity in general, and of the Catholic Church in particular. 

I imperturbably continued my path in the same state of mind within the Dominican Order. However, through the years of study and ministry, some sort of new awareness arose and started growing deep inside. I could clearly see that not all the divergences and sometimes clashes between me and my Dominican brothers could be put to the account of my difficulties, as an exotic new-comer, adjusting to the objective standards of Christian charity. I was under the impression that increasingly often the fact that I did not see eye to eye with them stemmed from my being a Jew and them not being such, so that it had hardly anything to do with the norms of Christian charity. Rather it had to do with what I would call an ontological difference, something that derived from the creative will of God. In other words, what surfaced was the inability of these brethren to acknowledge and value a feature which, at its core, could not have been intended to destroy the bonds of charity within the Body of Christ but on the contrary, to bolster and strengthen them.  Of course, these good men were not personally to blame. Although some Christians like to tell Jews who became their fellow believers that they are “doubly chosen”, they have no idea what this dual election means in theory as well as in practice. As far as I know, the embryo of a Catholic – let alone a Christian Orthodox – reflection on the purpose and role of Jews in the Body of the Church has yet to see the light of day.

This being said, nothing would have come out of this new awareness, had I not had two simultaneous encounters several years ago. The first was with a group of Finnish Orthodox believers who viewed Jews and Judaism in a favourable light. The second was the discovery of Messianic Judaism as a religious phenomenon. If there is such a thing as a Jewish way of being disciples of Christ and if this way has a value in itself, as Messianic Judaism claims, should this reality not prompt historic Christian denominations to re-assess the status they currently grant, or refuse to grant, their Jewish members?  Jewish disciples of Christ have something to say to the whole Body of Christ by dint of merely being who they are. Accordingly, I was led into thinking that the commonality of their human and spiritual experience would be sufficient to give Jews affiliated with different Church bodies not only the duty, but the desire and the ability to speak with one voice.

This indeed came to be my experience with the Helsinki Consultation. It has abundantly confirmed the insight that initially drew me towards it.  We, Jewish followers of Christ, experience a human and spiritual commonality the depth and the power of which are definitely superior to that of the division between our denominations. I firmly believe the human friendship that has developed among us through our meetings is not the cause, but the consequence of this unifying, healing and, I dare say, awesome experience. As a matter of fact, I now view my membership in the HC as a vital support to my own Christian path in the Dominican Order.  I am increasingly convinced that this wonder, concealed in the wonder of faith, has the power of transforming disasters, even the disaster of a Jewish conversion, into a source of blessing for the whole Body of the Messiah. Read his bio

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Lisa Loden

As an Israeli Messianic Jew with scholarly interests, the Helsinki Consultation provides a unique forum for interaction with other Yeshua believing Jewish scholars from a variety of faith communities. The forum is intellectually challenging and spiritually enriching. I learn much from my brothers and sisters who have chosen different ways of living out their faith than I have. An integral part of the experience of being together and sharing our diverse views has been an unexpected discovery that we are deeply connected. We are all Jews whose faith in Yeshua is central to our lives and in this we find rich fellowship. Although we are theologically and geographically diverse, we have a strong sense of community. The consultation provides a place where we are free to engage with one another on subjects of mutual interest in an atmosphere of trust and respect. This yearly encounter encourages us in our ongoing quest to more fully ascertain and live out the meaning of what it is to be Yeshua believing Jews within our own communities and as members of the one body of Messiah. Read her bio

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David Neuhaus

I became a believer in Yeshua through the luminous witness of a Russian Orthodox nun, found my home in the Roman Catholic Church, and all of this as an Israeli, living in the midst of my own people, the Jews. Understanding what it means to be a Jewish believer in Yeshua today in an atmosphere that is rooted in authentic faith, exercises intellectual reflection and encourages dialogue in diversity is for me what the Helsinki Consultation is all about. We support one another, challenge one another and grow together in faith and witness despite the diversity of our contexts and commitments. The communion in spirit we share in our Jewish identity and faith in Yeshua is a life giving source of strength throughout the year. Read his bio

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Svetlana Panich

When I came to the Helsinki Consultation for the first time in 2010, I was sure that it would be just one more interesting academic encounter among others. However, what I found there continues to influence my life, and I dare to say, has even changed it in some ways. First, talks, discussions, sharing and the very spirit of the Consultation help me to "meet" with my own Jewishness on a new, deeper level; to appreciate better the meaning, challenges and the value of it; to encourage me to reconsider my knowledge about tradition and to learn more about it not as a part of the common national heritage only, but as a part of my spiritual biography and a question of faithfulness and freedom.

The words I said to an old Jew soon after my baptism when he asked me, why on earth do I need all this Church stuff – “It is in the Church I could fully reconsider my Jewishness” could even be more rightly said about my participation in the HC. At the same time, theological reflection inspired and developed by the HC has helped me clarify my place as a Jewish Christian in the traditional Church with a complicated and controversial history of its relations to the Jewish people, gave me the courage to keep that special place of “the stranger” defined by my Jewish identity, and to speak openly about the Jewish roots and sources of our faith with my Church mates, especially with those of Jewish origin. I would say that participation in the HC has strengthened the integrity of my Jewishness and my Church belonging. Last, but not least, there I found very close friends, some of them became an essential part of my life. We can discuss, even argue, but in spite of all our differences and controversies, through our mutual sharing and searching of ways to create commonality, we bear witness to the reality of the Church undivided within itself and inseparable from its initial roots. We are a small community trying to keep and share the spirit of the first Jewish disciples of Yeshua. Read her bio 

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Vladimir Pikman

I believe the visible unity of sincere followers of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah reveals the mystery of the very divine nature and calling of Yeshua. This unity is essential, important and even sacramental. The foundational unity of the Body of the Messiah recognized in the Bible is between the Jewish believer and the believers from other nations. Thus, the Jewish people have an important role in this regard. In order to fulfill it we need to set an example and to have unity among ourselves, the Jewish believers. This unity is difficult to achieve without mutual bridges of understanding between our denominational biases and traditions, creating the common ground for our unity. The Helsinki Consultation is a groundbreaking step toward such common ground. And I am privileged to be part of it. Read his bio