By Dr. Debbie Weissman
On 8 June 2014, the Presidents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas, joined Pope Francis for a program of prayer in the Vatican Garden. The three gentlemen, from three monotheistic traditions – Judaism, Islam, and Christianity – recited prayers for peace, found in each of their traditional sources.
But in many religions, prayer is a verbalized commitment to certain values and goals for which the individual or the group is praying – a commitment that must be followed up with actions. In building a lasting peace, what is most important are the actions; but praying together may be a step in the right direction.
The International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ), a framework for dialogue that arose in Europe in the tragic wake of World War II and the Holocaust, has promoted positive inter-religious relations among majorities and minorities for almost seven decades.