NEW DELHI, Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A delegation of eighteen AJC leaders advanced Hindu-Jewish relations and participated in an international interfaith dialogue during AJC's Interreligious Affairs Mission to India, November 11-20.
The centerpiece of the visit was an interreligious convocation with leading international representatives of Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian and Jewish communities, held in Rishikesh, on the banks of the Ganges River. The assemblage was convened by the Parmarth Niketan Ashram, under the leadership of AJC's Hindu partner, His Holiness Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, to affirm a religious commitment to environmentalism.
The AJC delegation viewed the annual Hindu celebration of Dev Diwali on the Ganges in the holy city of Varanasi, a pilgrimage attended by one million Hindus.
Rabbi David Rosen, AJC's International Director of Interreligious Affairs, based in Jerusalem, who was a keynote speaker representing the Jewish people at the convocation, said, "Our interreligious leadership relationships in India parallel the growth of Hindu-Jewish relations globally and reinforce the burgeoning India-Israel diplomatic and economic ties. This mission particularly empowers our interreligious dialogues in the United States and around the world."
The AJC delegation spent Shabbat with the Jewish community in Mumbai, joining together for services and Shabbat dinner. The group met with U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma and Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon.
The mission is the latest program reflecting AJC's steadfast commitment to Hindu-Jewish relations. It follows on the Hindu-Jewish leadership summits co-sponsored by AJC in Delhi (2007), Jerusalem (2008), and New York and Washington, D.C. (2009). In addition, AJC's Project Interchange has hosted educational seminars in Israel for Muslim and Dharma faith leaders from India and Asia.
The AJC mission was co-led by Rabbi Rosen and Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC's Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, based in New York. Mission co-chairs were David Inlander of Chicago, who also serves as chair of AJC's Interreligious Affairs Commission, and Ayesha Bulchandani Mathrani of New York.
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SOURCE American Jewish Committee