Unfortunately No End to Antisemitism in Sight

February 25, 2018


Opening remarks to the conference An End to Antisemitism!,
University of Vienna, 19th of February 2018
By Arie Folger


Hatred of Jews has been justified because they are poor and because they are rich, because they are powerful and because they are weak, because the are healthy and because they are ill, because they are geniuses and because they are devoid of wisdom, because they are pious and because they are godless, because they hew to high morals and because they are degenerate. In short, Jews have been hated simply because the are.

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How and Why the Declaration “From Jerusalem to Rome” Came About

September 4, 2017

EnglishOn August 31st 2017, Rabbis representing the Rabbinical Council of America, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Conference of European Rabbis presented a declaration to Pope Francis, entitled From Jerusalem to Rome, Reflections of 50 Years of Nostra Aetate. That declaration includes a somewhat lengthy theological and historical introduction. To someone not steeped in the fine points of Jewish Christian dialogue, be he Jew or gentile, the finer theological points made in the introduction may be a little mystifying. Here is a short paper about our declaration — How and Why the Declaration From Jerusalem to Rome Came About. Read the rest of this entry »

A historic declaration: Between Jerusalem and Rome

August 31, 2017

After two years of work, I had the great honor today of handing over a historic declaration by leading Orthodox rabbinic organizations to Pope Francis. The declaration is the fruit of an international committee I chaired, which included representatives of the Conference of European Rabbis, the Rabbinical Council of America and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

Here is the full text of our declaration, including our philosophical, theological and historical consideration. Read the rest of this entry »

Protecting Prostejov’s Jewish Cemeteries

December 11, 2016

EnglishOn November 27th, I was privileged to be part of a delegation of Viennese Jews who travelled to the Czech town of Prostejov (Prossnitz in German, Prostitz in Yiddish, population: 44000) to pray at the grave of Rabbi Tzvi Yeshayahu ha-Levi Horowitz on the occasion of his 200th anniversary, and to arouse sympathy among Czech government and civic society to protect that cemetery, which had been destroyed by the Nazis. Three days later we were rewarded with the news of the Czech Culture Ministry rejecting a motion to abstain from re-establishing a boundary for and protecting the cemetery. In other words, Read the rest of this entry »

Meine bisherigen Gedanken zur Flüchtlingsdebatte

December 6, 2016

Austrian-German_Swiss_flags-tinyWegen populärer Nachfrage biete ich hier die eine Sammlung von Links bezüglich meiner bisherigen öffentlichen Ansprachen, Aufsätze und Interviews zur Flüchtlingsdebatte. Ich bin politisch weder rechts noch links. In bestimmten Fragen neige ich rechts, in anderen links, und so oder so lasse ich mich von meiner jüdischen Erbe informieren und inspirieren. Ich mag diese weder-rechts-noch-links, denn ich hoffe damit ab und zu gegenseitig zu sensibilisieren und sogar manchmal überraschende Blickwinkel zu zeigen. Ob dies mir geling und ob ich damit einen wesentlichen Beitrag leiste, das überlasse ich den Lesern. Read the rest of this entry »

How to deal with the Integration of refugees

December 4, 2016
General view

The High Level Meeting at the EU Commission on Nov. 29th 2016

EnglishOn November 29th 2016, yours truly participated in the “High Level Meeting” between the European Commission and faith leaders. Twice a year such meetings take place, once with faith leaders and once with secular thinkers. The theme of this year’s meeting was how to deal with the integration of migrants. I must highlight that the questions put before the faith leaders were themselves representing teh political bias of the parties in control of the EU Commission, which, truth to be told, is legitimate. Thus, the question was not whether to take in more refugees, but how to better do so. That said, all participants felt an ethical duty to act humanely. Below are my slightly edited prepared comments to the assembled dignitaries. Part I was presented. Part II was spontaneously adapted to the discussion and thus was not fully presented, however it did form the basis of some of my comments when I was later interviewed by Radio Vatican. Read the rest of this entry »

Is there Order to the World? Providence in Jewish Thought

February 9, 2016

Maimonides_1985_Paraguay_stamp_cropEnglishaudio-input-microphoneProvidence in the Thought of Rambam and Ramban (Maimonides and Nachmanides)
How common is Divine Providence? The view associated with the Ba’al Shem Tov, that every leave that rustles does so by direct and specific Divine Providence, is well known. Is there room for other approaches in Judaism? The approaches of two gigantic Mediaeval Jewish thinkers contrasted and compared. Read the rest of this entry »