This month we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Council of Christians and Jews, the oldest national interfaith organization in the UK. The organization has had a profound effect on Jewish-Christian relations, both in the UK and internationally.

While CCJ may be a relatively small organization, its anniversary was recognized by Her Majesty The Queen, its patron, who recently attended a function in London to celebrate the occasion.

The organization seeks to develop understanding and mutual respect between the Christian and Jewish communities.

Key challenges addressed include anti-Semitism, proselytizing, the politics of Israel and the Middle East and advocating a shared ethical agenda. The phrase “Judeo-Christian heritage” is commonly used and it was no surprise to me, at the launch of National Marriage Week at the British Parliament last month, to find myself in the company of leading, committed Christians.

The foundation of CCJ in March 1942, at the height of the Holocaust, was not able to alter the tragic fate of millions of Jews, but it was an important show of solidarity from the Christian community in the darkest of hours for our people. Archbishop William Temple and Chief Rabbi Dr. J.H. Hertz were the driving force behind CCJ. At a meeting held on March 20, 1942, to form the Council, it was agreed that “the Nazi attack on Jewry has revealed that anti-Semitism is part of a general and comprehensive attack on Christianity and Judaism and on the ethical principles common to both religions, which form the basis of the free national life of Great Britain.”

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