CCJ Study Tour to PolandPosted Wed, 10/25/2023 - 10:58 by Lazzaro
The Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) are currently leading a group of senior Christians leaders on a unique study tour to Poland, in partnership with Taube Jewish Heritage Tours. The programme explores the history of Jewish life in the country, before, during and after the Second World War – a journey which is taking us from Warsaw to Lodz, Krakow, and Auschwitz-Birkenau.
CCJ have gathered a group of Christian leaders from across the UK to take part in this journey. The participants are all leaders in their communities, including Bishops and Ministers, Trustees, Chaplains, and Theologians. They have wide and varied spheres of influences across Christian communities. Denominations within the group include the United Reformed Church, the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church, and the Church of God of Prophecy.
This programme has several aims. Firstly, this programme seeks to educate participants about Jewish life in Poland before, during, and after the Second World War. Tragically, at the heart of this history is the Holocaust. We have been visiting sites related to the Shoah, including ghettos, deportation stations and on Thursday 26th October we will visit Auschwitz-Birkenau. We are also exploring the 1000 years of Jewish history in Poland, looking at the rich history of Jewish life which was lost in the Holocaust, and celebrating contemporary Jewish life by visiting synagogues, Jewish community centres and participating in a Shabbat meal in Krakow on Friday 27th October.
The second aim is to learn about Christian-Jewish relations in Poland. We are exploring the history of Christian-Jewish relations in the country, and discussing how this is relevant for understanding the Holocaust. Through meeting with senior Christian and Jewish leaders, including the Chief Rabbi of Poland (whom we met on Tuesday 24th October), we are discussing contemporary challenges in Christian-Jewish relations as well as positive examples of interfaith engagement which seek to overcome centuries of Christian persecution of Jews.
The final aim is to explore contemporary issues in Poland. We are uncovering how the memory of the Holocaust intersects with other contemporary issues, particularly around identity-based discrimination and the curation of memory. We will ask how Poland maintains the memory of the Holocaust, and how is this framed.
Through this programme, we hope that the participants will be equipped with a deeper appreciation and understanding of Jewish life and identity, a detailed knowledge of the events of the Holocaust, and that they will be inspired to foster positive interfaith relations between Christians and Jews back home in the UK.
This programme sits at the heart of CCJ’s mission and values.
The Council of Christians and Jews was founded in 1942, at the height of the Second World War and the Holocaust, by Archbishop William Temple and Chief Rabbi Joseph Hertz. Today we are the leading nationwide forum for Christian-Jewish engagement.
For over 80 years, we have been engaging Jewish and Christian communities across the UK in education, dialogue, and social change. We aim to celebrate the history and diversity of both communities, to enable meaningful educational experiences, to facilitate constructive dialogue, and provide opportunities for transformative social change.
Today, CCJ is the only organisation in the UK which provides Holocaust education tailored specifically for the Christian community. By learning about the Holocaust and equipping church leaders to be witnesses to the devastations of the Holocaust and bring this back to their communities. We aspire to commemorate the past and transform Christian-Jewish relations for the future.
We are conscious of the vital importance of this work at a time where interfaith relations are being strained by violence throughout the world. The need to learn from the past, to listen to ‘the other’, and for people of faith to walk together remains as vital as ever.
We are grateful to the generosity of our funders for this programme, and without them it would not have been possible: the Claims Conference, the Association of Jewish Refugees, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, and the United Reformed Church Interfaith Fund.
For more information about the work of CCJ please visit www.ccj.org.uk