AJC, Archbishop Timothy Dolan to Visit Oberammergau Passion Play

Jun 28, 2010, 12:27 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, June 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, the director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations of the American Jewish Committee, and Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, will meet in Oberammergau, Germany and view a performance of the world's oldest and largest Passion Play. 

The AJC has invited Archbishop Dolan, who already will be in Germany as part of a pilgrimage of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre that will include the renowned play, to attend a performance of the play together, and to share a dinner that will give them the opportunity to discuss Catholic and Jewish perspectives on the play. They will be joined by the play's director so that they might gain further insight into the artistic, dramatic, cultural, and spiritual elements of this historic and, at times, controversial drama.

The meeting of the AJC with Archbishop Dolan in Oberammergau will take place on July 1.

The Oberammergau Passion Play has been performed every ten years since 1634. The 2010 edition opened in mid-May, and will be seen by half a million pilgrims during its 102 performance season which runs through October.

"I am grateful to my friends at the American Jewish Committee for organizing this meeting. This will give us an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of friendship that exist between us, as together we reflect on the play and discuss the concerns that it has historically raised about anti-Semitism," said Archbishop Dolan. "We are delighted to engage in this important effort with the AJC."

Oberammergau is the most influential Passion Play in the world, and sets the standard for the genre. During the last forty years, through the efforts of Christian and Jewish leaders and scholars, the play has undergone significant revisions in an ongoing process of mitigating anti-Jewish stereotypes and themes.

"We look forward to this opportunity to view and analyze the Play with our Catholic colleagues, another initiative in deepening and advancing Catholic-Jewish relations," said Rabbi Greenebaum.

Joining Rabbi Greenebaum will be Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC's associate director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, and Oberammergau expert. Rabbi Marans led a delegation of young American Jews to Oberammergau in May. Father Dennis McManus, Assistant to the Archbishop, will also attend.

SOURCE American Jewish Committee