Rabbi Riskin Breaks Theological Ground in Jerusalem

Today and Tomorrow, Ohr Torah Stone’s Center for Jewish Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) in Efrat is sponsoring an interfaith theological conference and exploring the subjects of, “Covenant, Mission and Conversion” at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. 

While it's being billed as a "first" international conference which introduces "groundbreaking material" and "new research", Rabbi Riskin previously sponsored an identical conference at Yale last year, in conjunction with the Yale Divinity school and the Witherspoon Institute at Princeton.  Both conferences promote the idea of exploring "New Frontiers in Christian-Jewish Theology". The same academics are participating and their papers are being reused.

Jewish Israel already reported about this material at the time of the Yale conference last October. Our report included academic reaction to the conference and is certainly worth reviewing at this time.  We regularly report on Rabbi Riskin's penchant for treading on shaky theological ground and his repeated trampling of Rav Soloveitchik's psak proscribing interfaith theological dialogue. Our report, Fallen apple breaks interfaith fence, is also available in Hebrew.

Both Rabbi Riskin and Rabbi Eugene Korn are desperately seeking a covenantal union, "a new covenantal relation", with Christianity. Korn's academic paper poses, the following the questions:

  • How can Jewish theology understand Christianity in covenantal terms?
  • Are there authentic grounds for a new theological relationship in which Jews see Christians as participating in a common covenant with them?
  • If so, what are the boundaries of this commonality?

The Institute for Theological Inquiry (ITI) is directed by Rabbi Korn. It is an ongoing theological enterprise that is a division of CJCUC in Efrat. Its American partner is the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, New Jersey. The Institute's objective is to engage world-class theologians in an effort to break new theological ground through focused research projects in areas critical to Judaism, Christianity, social values, and world culture. Witherspoon is a highly conservative think tank with a number of Catholic affiliates. It's widely reported that the president of Witherspoon is a lead cleric of Opus Dei at Princeton. 

While the Torah observant public is familiar with Rabbi Riskin's theological endeavors with evangelical entities, it should be noted that he and CJCUC's executive director David Nekrutman dedicate enormous energies to nurturing relations with the Vatican.  Last month at this time, Rabbi Riskin met with Pope Benedict XVI and briefed him on the work of CJCUC.


Representatives from Jewish Israel will be at the Van Leer conference, which is being broadcast live from the Van Leer website. We will keep our readership informed of developments.

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Comment by Jewish Israel on February 17, 2011 at 6:14am

We posted a video clip a while (from August 2009) back where Rabbi Riskin essentially claims that G-d's Brit Bein He'Betarim (Covenant Between the Parts) between G-d and Abraham had the Christians in mind from the outset.
So his explanation in the conference was strange.

Also the  growing Ephramite movement is most certainly claiming equal inheritance in the land of Israel. And we have posted plenty on that. 

Have you heard Rabbi Korn's remarks?

Comment by Sharbano on February 17, 2011 at 1:50am

Well, after listening to Rabbi Riskin I was left wondering how much he is aware of Xtian teaching. I'm no expert on Xtian teaching or belief, but I have encountered these people across the years and at times confronted with antagonism.


The Xtian (McDermott?) made mention that, as I understand it, there are two covenants, one for the Jew and one for the Gentile. If this is truly Xtian teaching, and is what this person believes, than the question that arises is, "why do Xtians even attempt to convert the Jew, that is, if they are under a covenant for the Jew". The Xtian came with a contradiction to that assertion when he spoke of the "Messianic Jew". If it is true that the covenant with the Jew is "different" than for the Gentile then it would, or should, be incumbent upon the Gentile Xtian to see to it that the Jew is adhering the the covenant "for the Jew". He should be admonishing the Jew for not following the covenant he is bound by. Since this isn't the case then we can assume, correctly, that this is nothing more than deception and another agenda is in effect. 


The Rabbi would assert that the Xtian doesn't consider "his covenant" as being associated with the Brit Bayn Hab'tarim. I haven't heard a Xtian specifically mention the "covenant between the pieces" but considering that the teaching is that Yeshu is a fulfillment of all of Torah then I suspect it would be applied in some manner. Accordingly, the Rabbi says emphatically that these Xtians are not interested in "ownership" of the land, but we know in absolute terms this is certainly not the case. The video of  "The New Christians" certainly has the Messianics certainly claiming ownership of the land. 


From my understanding of the Xtian text it does ass

Comment by Jewish Israel on February 16, 2011 at 9:04am
looking forward to your opinion, Sharbano.
Comment by Sharbano on February 15, 2011 at 10:29pm
Well, they finally put up the video at Van Leer so now I can check it out.

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