TV documentary on Jewish-Christian relations features two graduates

by Dennis Brown

Two recent University of Notre Dame graduates are featured in a new documentary on Jewish-Christian relations to be aired this month as a part of the “Vision and Values” series on the ABC television network.p. “I Am Joseph Your Brother,” a joint project of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel, explores the reconciliation during the past 50 years between Jews and Christians, Judaism and Catholicism, and Israel and the Vatican.p. The film, which was inspired by Pope John Paul II’s visit to Israel in March 2000, takes its name from the greeting of Pope John XXIII to a group of American Jews visiting Rome on the eve of the Second Vatican Council in 1962. Drawing upon both the biblical story of Joseph and from his given name, Guiseppe (Joseph in Italian), the pope said to the group, “I am Joseph your brother,” a welcome that is credited as a significant turning point in the relationship between Catholics and Jews.p. The documentary’s producers visited the Notre Dame campus earlier this year to interview students and Rabbi Michael Signer, Abrams Professor of Jewish Thought and Culture at the University.p. Signer provided the documentary’s producers with extensive background information and analysis on efforts to improve Jewish-Christian relations. He directs the Notre Dame Holocaust Project, which cosponsored a conference a year ago at the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz that was attended by Jewish and Christian students from Poland, Germany and the United States.p. Among the students featured in the film are Terry Welch, a 2001 Notre Dame graduate from Toledo, Ohio, and Elizabeth Groppe, who earned her doctorate in theology from the University and now teaches at Xavier University. Both reflected on their experiences at the Auschwitz conference.p. Video copies of “I Am Joseph Your Brother” will be available for purchase after the program is aired nationally by ABC-TV by calling 800-235-8722.

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