Biblical Course by Notre Dame de Sion, in Iaşi, Romania

After a yearly break, Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion are starting again to provide biblical courses for those who want to deepen  their understanding of Scriptures in Iasi, Romania. The three proposed courses are: one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament and a Biblical Hebrew course. More information is included in Romanian below:

Surorile “Notre Dame de Sion” organizează trei cursuri de Biblie – despre Cartea Înţelepciunii, despre Cartea Apocalipsei şi ebraică biblică – pentru toţi cei interesaţi să aprofundeze cuvântul lui Dumnezeu, la sediul din Iaşi.

“Când luăm în mână cu credinţă Sfintele Scripturi şi le citim cu Biserica, omul se plimbă din nou cu Dumnezeu în paradis” (Verbum Domini, nr. 87)

Sunt propuse trei cursuri:

1. “Am ales calea înţelepciunii” – profesor: pr. Iosif Antili (Curs biblic despre Cartea Înţelepciunii)

Cartea Înţelepciunii este o scriere biblică grandioasă prin orizontul fascinant pe care îl delineează şi prin abordarea unor teme fundamentale pentru înţelegerea lumii în general şi pentru aprofundarea misterului omului.

Se vor explora teme precum: misterul regelui Solomon, condamnarea filozofiei clipei prezente, răspunsul lui Dumnezeu vvproblema dreptului suferind, enigma morţii, destinul nemuritor al omului, calea înţelepciunii, posibilitatea cunoaşterii lui Dumnezeu şi rătăcirile idolatriei, mijloacele prin care Dumnezeu acţionează în lume. Cursul este o invitaţie pentru toţi cei doritori de a face câţiva paşi înainte pe calea înţelepeciunii biblice.

Cursul se desfăşoară în zilele următoare: 16 februarie; 2, 16 şi 30 martie; 13 aprilie; 4 şi 18 mai; 1 şi 15 iunie 2019.

2. “Apocalipsa, mister şi semnificaţii” – profesor: pr. Iulian Faraoanu (Curs biblic despre Cartea Apocalipsei)

Cursul îşi propune să introducă pe participanţi în temele principale ale literaturii şi teologiei cărţii Apocalipsei.

Prima parte e dedicată problematicii tradiţiilor si curentelor apocaliptice dezvoltate intre secolele II î.C. – II d.C. A doua parte, cea mai consistentă de altfel, tratează teme ce ajută la descifrarea viziunilor şi simbolurilor din Apocalipsa.

Una dintre intenţii e dorinţa de a corecta prejudecăţi referitoare la Apocalipsă. Ultima scriere a Bibliei este o carte despre speranţă şi fericire.

Cursul se desfăşoară în zilele următoare: 23 februarie; 9 şi 23 martie; 6 aprilie; 11 şi 25 mai; 8 şi 22 iunie 2019.

3. “Universul literelor ebraice” – profesor: sr. Iuliana Neculai, NDS (Curs de ebraică biblică)

Alfabetul ebraic este fascinant datorită profunzimii simbolisticii lui. Un mistic evreu, pe nume Aboulafia, spunea: “Literele ebraice sunt rădăcina întregii înţelepciuni”.

Cursul îşi propune o abordare a alfabetului ebraic prin prezentarea unor rădăcini ebraice, ce va permite de a aprofunda unele cuvinte precum, Amin, Aleluia, …, cuvinte dintre cele mai cunoscute din limba ebraică. Intenţia cursului, pe lângă asimilarea unor elemente de bază ale limbii ebraice, este aceea de a renunţa la unele certitudini şi la trăirea uimirii în faţa unor cuvinte acoperite până acum de traduceri şi de interpretări.

Cursul se desfăşoară în zilele următoare: 16 şi 23 februarie; 2 şi 30 martie; 6 aprilie; 11 şi 25 mai; 1, 8 şi 15 iunie 2019.

Sediul Congregaţiei “Notre Dame de Sion” are adresa: Aleea Grigore Ghica Vodă, nr. 19, Iaşi (Copou).

Pentru înscrierea la aceste cursuri şi alte informaţii: Sr. Iuliana Neculai (NDS), email: iuliananeculai@hotmail.com, tel. 0741.658.651.

“Dacă aş fi fost preot aş fi studiat ebraica şi greaca pentru a putea citi cuvântul lui Dumnezeu pe care El s-a învrednicit să-l exprime în limbajul omenesc” (Thér?se de Lisieux)

“Cuvântul tău, Doamne, este făclie pentru paşii noştri” (Ps 119,105).

Sr. Iuliana Neculai, NDS

 

 

 

 

 

Holocaust Remembrance Days in Poland (27.01-3.02 2019)

The last week of January, I spent in Poland in Podkarpacie Region (formerly Galicia and where I come from), where from the 27 of January, until 3 of February in 70 villages and towns various meetings and events took place to mark the Holocaust Memorial Day in Poland. This invitation to come and become part of these events, came as a result of a meeting with the main organiser Prof. Wacław Wierzbieniec, at the academic conference, in Krakow in 2018.

It was already 11th year, when such commemorations took place in this part of Poland (part of shtetls before II World War and where today there is almost no Jewish Presence). The main initiator and organiser is Prof. Wacław Wierzbieniec, the Professor in the History Department at the University of Rzeszów, as well as head of the Department of History and Culture of Jews, there. Every year Prof. Wierzbieniec invites Holocaust Survivors, who this year came from Holland, Israel, Canada, the US. We were all greeted with friendship by the priests, mayors, residents and especially the school children, who displayed their knowledge about the Holocaust. These events are organised by local people, in parishes, centres, museums, schools and in the Jewish cemeteries or places marked by tragedy of Shoah.

The main celebration took place in Rzeszów, in a parish with the presence of the bishop of place- bp. Wątroba. During the ecumenical ceremony in the main parish, names of Jews and non-Jews from Podkarpacie, who perished during Holocaust were read. We went together to the Jewish cemetery where Jewish prayers, including Kaddish were said by the Rabbi and Jewish participants. Finally, at the Rzeszow University prof. Shimon Redlich (borned in Galicia region and saved by Polish and Ukrainian families during the War) received the highest academic title – the doctor honoris causa for his academic achievements.

Each day I was asked to go to a different place, to schools, museums, centres to give talks concerning Sion and interreligious dialogue. It is worth mentioning that in some of the schools, preparation for this event took place the whole month of January, where children learned about their local and Jewish history related to Shoah. Among the people who participated where the Jewish survivors from this villages and tows who came specially for this occasion and also the families whose members (or their parents or grandparents) received the title of the Righteous Among the Nations. In some places, I was among other speakers, often historians who spoke about Jewish local history.

In all visited places, I was very warmly welcomed. Many people expressed interested in our Sionian story – in our path on Jewish – Christian Dialogue. I was very surprised to discover the number of these commemorations, as 12 years ago nothing much was happening in my region on the local level, especially in these tiny villages who now so well educate their children about the Holocaust history. Every year more towns and villages joins this initiative and in other regions of Poland the 27th of January is marked in main cities.

Unfortunately, news about these events rarely get into the medias, not only in Poland but even more so around the world. Yes, these initiatives often are very local, but the important, as they are able to touch people’s lives and change their view about and relationships with the Neighbour – the one next to or the one who is no (more) so close.

Sr. Kasia Kowalska, NDS

Session biblique sur le thème de l’Espérance, Jerusalem 20 octobre – 03 novembre 2019

Le Centre de Formation Biblique de la Congrégation Notre Dame de Sion organise une nouvelle session de 2 semaines, centrée sur le thème de l’Espérance dans la Bible, dans l’expérience juive et chrétienne.

« Je sais, moi, les desseins que je forme pour vous, oracle du Seigneur, desseins de paix et non de malheur, pour vous donner un avenir et une espérance. » (Jr 29, 11)

« L’espérance ne déçoit pas car l’amour de Dieu a été répandu dans vos cœurs par le Saint Esprit qui vous a été donné. » (Rm 5,5)

Le programme inclura :

  • étude de la Parole de Dieu, grâce à des enseignements, des temps de réflexion, de partage et de prière;

  • des excursions guidées à travers le pays;

  • des rencontres avec les habitants de cette terre;

La formation s’adresse à toute personne intéressée:

  • à scruter la Parole de Dieu;

  • à approfondir sa foi;

  • à découvrir cette terre et ceux qui l’habitent;

La session se tiendra à Jérusalem dans les 2 maisons de la Congrégation Notre Dame de Sion:

  • la première semaine à l’Ecce Homo dans la Vieille Ville;

  • la deuxième semaine à Ein Karem dans les collines de Judée;

Coût de la session est 2650 €.

Le prix comprend la pension complète, les enseignements, les visites, l’accès internet (WiFi). Ne comprend pas le billet d’avion.

Des arrangements financiers sont possibles.

Plus d’informations et registration :

fr. José LEITE, NDS
Tél: + 33 (0) 1 40 46 08 57

Portable:+ 33 (0) 7 84 54 76 78

Email:  josemarialeite@yahoo.com

News from CCJR Annual Meeting

The Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR) is “an association of centers and institutes in the United States and Canada devoted to enhancing mutual understanding between Jews and Christians” (https://www.ccjr.us/). Celia Deutsch (Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.) attended the annual meeting held in Providence, Rhode Island Nov. 4 and 5, 2018, as a representative of the Sisters of Sion. The Sunday program included a panel discussion of the festschrift in honor of John Pawlikowski, Righting Relations after the Holocaust and Vatican II: Essays in Honor of John Pawlikowski. The keynote speaker was Dr. David Kertzer (Brown University, Providence), who spoke on “The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara: the Continuing Controversy. Monday’s panels focused on perspectives on the Land/State of Israel: in Jewish theology, in Christian theology and in Christian-Jewish Dialogue.

Each year the CCJR gives a Shevet Achim award honoring a person who has made a significant contribution to Jewish-Christian dialogue. At the November meeting, Rabbi Abraham Skorka was honored for his work as a leader in dialogue in Argentina and internationally. Many people recognize him best for his work with Pope Francis, beginning with their collaboration in Buenos Aires Celia was one of those speaking in his honor, and focused on the theme of “dialogue” in Rabbi Skorka’s writing.

The meeting took place only a week after an armed gunman murdered eleven elderly Jews gathered for Shabbat services in Pittsburgh. For all those participating, our gathering was a moment to comfort and support one another, to take courage and recommit ourselves to building paths of justice and peace.

Celia Deutsch, n.d.s., Brooklyn N.Y. (U.S.A.)

The International Jewish – Christian Bible Week, Germany

I had heard from Srs. Clare, Margaret and Kathy, NDS about the International Jewish Christian Bible Week for a number of years and they had given me the impression that it was a programme that marks memory for a long time. Finally, this year, I was able to take part in it, as well as sr. Kathy. The Jewish – Christian Bible Week takes place in Germany (in recent years in Haus Ohrbeck near Osnabrück) for 50 years. Jews and Christians from Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, the USA, Israel and other countries, scholars and interested lay people (this year 130 participants), came together at the Jewish-Christian Bible Week to study biblical texts against a background of the two traditions.

Every morning study groups take place, where Jews and Christians have an opportunity to study, discuss and share their knowledge concerning chosen biblical text, this year Genesis 1-3, Isaiah 42-49 and Jonah. Groups are formed according to knowledge of Hebrew and focus. In-depths study of the Hebrew text, canonical approach, Jewish – Christian Bible study, biblical text and the contemporary world, interpretation and creative response through visual art. Trust and an openness to listen to and to ask questions was deeply touching. This made me realise the gigantic changes that has happened in Jewish – Christian relations since the  Nostra Aeatate document. In the afternoons, four lecturers: Dr. D. Kahn – Harris (Rabbi and a Jewish Bible Scholar), Prof. Halima Krausen (a Muslim Sheika and imam), Fr. Dr C. Rutishauser (a Jesuit, and a Bible Scholar) and H. Copper (a Rabbi and a psychoanalyst) delivered brilliant and often challenging presentations of studied biblical texts.

The shift in our mutual relations was also very visible during the moments of prayer. Each morning Christians were invited to come to Shacharit (Jewish morning prayer). Before each study session a there was a common recitation of a Psalm, first read in Hebrew and then in various languages. In the evenings Christians opened the door for everybody who wanted to listen to Christian liturgical prayer – Compline (a night prayer). Finally, at the end of the week everybody had a chance to experience Jewish Shabbat with its services (Kabbalat Shabbat, Shacharit and Havdalah) as well as Christian: on Saturday Vespers led by a Lutheran and on Sunday a Catholic Mass. An excellent interfaith choir was formed, often accompanied by professional musicians. Additionally, this year Rebekka Wedell, a composer, singer and pianist, composed for us a beautiful piece of music for the occasion of the Jubilee of the Bible Week.

This 50th year of the International Jewish – Christian Bible week was marked by the anniversary celebration during which one of the founders, Rabbi Dr. J. Magonet presented a talk ‘A Journey through Time 1969 – 2018’ when he picked up all the changes that had happened over the last fifty years. During the Kaleidoscope Rabbi M. Solomon spoke about the central place of Hebrew Scriptures during the Bible week, E. Sommer talked about studying the text with all one’s senses (through art, music etc), A. Boeckler and E. Hadem talked about worshipping in the presence of the Other, rabbi J. Baden about translations (as everything is in both languages: English and German). Finally U. Silber talked about the learning process that happens during the Bible week. Each of the presenters focused on the development and changes that had occurred from the beginning until today.

What also make this week very special are the friendships that are formed over this time. The inter-personal dialogues, conversations that take place in between the sessions and over the meals, are done in an atmosphere of trust and respect. This facilitates learning about the tradition of each one in a very informal but a deep way. The deceased participants from the previous years were remembered in the prayers (a few sisters of Sion were mentioned). Those who could not come had letters sent to them. This is how the Jewish – Christian Bible Week takes us beyond time and space and hopefully makes a difference (even if it is only tiny) so needed today in contemporary society.

Sr. Kasia, NDS

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