Church of Scotland, Jewish community meeting to ‘repair’ damaged relations

(JTA) – The Church of Scotland and the Scottish Jewish community are planning formal talks to “repair the damage” caused by a report, issued by the church in 2013, that said “scripture” provides no basis for Jewish claims to Israel.

The church and the Jewish community are to form a group of 10 to discuss interfaith issues as well as geopolitical matters, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and anti-Semitism, The Herald reported Wednesday.

“We very much welcome this initiative to re-establish the close relationship between the Church of Scotland and the Jewish Community and repair the damage caused in recent years,” Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, said in a statement.

The 2013 report, titled “The Inheritance of Abraham,” had been submitted by the church’s Church and Society Council. In addition to suggesting the church boycott Israel, the original document offended Jews by rejecting “claims that scripture offers any peoples a privileged claim for possession of a particular territory.”

The church later agreed to change the wording of the report to add context, but relations between the church and Scottish Jews remained strained.

While representatives from both sides have met since, the 10-person group represents the first formal move since the dispute.

“Alongside others from within the Church of Scotland, I am looking forward to embarking on this important piece of work together with our colleagues from within the Jewish community,” said the Rev. Richard Frazer, a parish minister and the convener of the Church and Society Council. “We hold a great deal in common as people whose shared faith is rooted in the story of Abraham. That faith inspires us to work together for a better world as well as striving for a deeper understanding and greater mutual respect for one another.”

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