A series of events across the UK has heralded the 50th anniversary year of a crucial Vatican document which laid the theological foundations for good relations between Christians and Jews ever since.

(L-R) Dr Edward Kessler MBE, The Most Revd Kevin McDonald, Rabbi David Rosen CBE KSG

(L-R) Dr Edward Kessler MBE, The Most Revd Kevin McDonald, Rabbi David Rosen CBE KSG

Visiting expert Rabbi David Rosen, Ireland’s former chief rabbi and a Papal Knight, toured community centres and synagogues, explaining the “revolutionary” significance of Nostra Aetate (‘In our time’), signed in October 1965.

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The document kick-started the Vatican’s relationship to non-Christian religions, at a time when the world was coming to grips with the reality of the Holocaust.

It put Catholic-Jewish relations on “a whole new footing,” deploring anti-Semitism and emphasising the “common spiritual heritage” between Christians and Jews.

Rabbi David Rosen CBE KSG and Dr Edward Kessler MBE

Rabbi David Rosen CBE KSG and Dr Edward Kessler MBE

It also dealt decisively with the death of Jesus, saying: “Even though the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ, neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his passion.”

At an event organised by the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) held at JW3 this week, Rosen said that “to go from a position of rejection and isolation to one of connectedness and partnership is unparalleled”.

The Most Revd Kevin McDonald

The Most Revd Kevin McDonald