A letter signed by tens of rabbis and Jewish scholars was delivered by Rabbi Dr. Alon Goshen Gottstein to the monks of Latroun on Sunday, September 9, 2012. We publish here the text of the letter.

See text of letter on Elijah Interfaith Institute website here

On the website there is also a video clip of Rabbi Alon’s address to the monks.

Text of the letter

Dear Fr. Renee, Abbot ,

Latroun Trappist Monastery,

We Jewish members and supporters of the Elijah Interfaith Institute, who include rabbis, teachers and scholars of Jewish studies together with other residents of Israel, wish to express our deep disdain for the acts of vandalism perpetrated against your Monastery. We feel deeply sorry that you were treated with such disrespect by others who purport to share our Jewish faith.

In our understanding, the creation of humanity in God’s image is the great motif of the Torah. We believe the Torah mandates full respect for the infinite value, equality and uniqueness of every human life, for we are all created in the image of God. There is no place for hatred or bigotry towards those whose religious commitment is different from our own.

The Church has justifiably asked questions about the type of values-education that Jewish children are receiving. The Elijah Interfaith Institute shares these concerns and we are working together to bring to light teachings of Judaism that cohere to the worldview that love of one's own group should not be equated with the hatred of others. Israel's calling is harmonious with the wellbeing of all humanity. Our Torah’s ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace. These and other great principles are the guidelines through which we interpret and teach our tradition.

Under our Theology of Religions project, we are compiling sources related to the ‘Jewish Theology of the Other’ that will be invaluable resources in providing a model of Judaism that is compatible with these ideals.

We scholars, students and ordinary citizens associated with the Elijah Interfaith Institute strive to educate our fellow Jews to emulate our Maker and remember that ‘The Lord is good to all, and His compassion extends to all His creatures’.

We hope that you will accept our sincere regrets that this desecration took place and our commitment to rededicating ourselves to working towards religious understanding in the Holy Land.

Yours in friendship,

Rabbi Dr Alon Goshen-Gottstein (Executive-Director)

on behalf of Jewish religious leaders and scholars of the Elijah Institute

Rabbis from Israel
Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron, Rishon Letzion, Former Chief Rabbi of Israel
Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, head of Chief Rabbinate Commission for Interreligious Dialogue
Rabbi Michael Melchior, former Chief Rabbi of Norway and Israeli minister
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi Efrat
Rabbi Mordechai Piron, former Chief Rabbi, IDF
Rabbi Daniel Sperber, Bar Ilan University
Rabbi Menachem Froman, Tekoa
Rabbi Yehuda Gilad, Lavi
Rabbi Shmuel Reiner, Tirat Zvi
Rabbi David Bigman, Ma'ale Gilboa
Rabbi Ronen Lubich, Nir Etzyon
Rabbi Daniel Kohn, Bat Ayin
Rabbi Dov Singer, Rosh Yeshiva, Mekor Haim
Rabbi Youval Cherlow, Rosh Yeshiva, Petach Tikvah
Rabbi Dov Lipman, Bet Shemesh
Rabbi Avi Giesser, Ofra
Rabbi Gilla Rosen, Jerusalem

Rabbis from the Diaspora
Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, Chief Rabbi of France
Rabbi Rene Shmuel Sirat, former Chief Rabbi of France
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of England
Rabbi Bengt Melchior, former Chief Rabbi of Denmark
Rabbi Menachem Hacohen, former Chief Rabbi of Romania
Rabbi Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia
Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland
Rabbi David Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, Director of the American Jewish Committee's Department of Interreligious Affairs
Rabbi Richard Marker, Vice Chair of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, London
Rabbi Dov Linzer, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical Seminary, New York
Rabbi Avraham Soetendorp, Amsterdam
Reb Mimi Feigelson, Los Angeles
Rabbi Eugene Korn, New Jersey

Jewish Scholars
Professor Reuven Kimelman, Brandeis University
Professor Yehoyada Amir, HUC
Professor Stanislaw Krajewski, University of Krakow
Professor Elliot Wolfson, NYU
Professor Benjamin Sommer, JTS
Professor Marc Shapiro, University of Scranton
Professor Menachem Kallus, Jerusalem
Professor Gershon Greenberg, Washington
David Nekrutman, Efrat Jewish-Christian center
Yehuda Gellman, Ben Gurion University
Professor Menachem Kellner, University of Haifa
Paul Fenton, Sorbonne, Paris and CNRS, Jérusalem
Peta Jones Pellach, The Elijah Interfaith Institute
Professor Raphi Jospe, Bar Ilan University