Emerging Leaders Conference in Oxford, UK

In June 2023, IJCIC and the Holy See held their biennial Emerging Leaders Conference (ELC) in Oxford. Forty-eight young leaders, Catholic and Jewish, from around the world spend four days together, learning about each other’s religious traditions and participating in interreligious dialogue.

Highlights of the gathering included an audience with Cardinal Nichols and Chief Rabbi Mirvis, both revered leaders of their respective communities in the UK and beyond. The group also met with Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism. These two leaders shared how they had worked together over the past year to welcome Ukrainian refugees to the UK while building strong relationships between their two communities.

There were opportunities to visit Central Synagogue in London, Westminster Abbey (where they met with the head of the Westminster Abbey Institute, Dr. Claire Foster-Gilbert), and Blackfriars Priory, a centre of Dominican life at Oxford University. And being in the UK, the group was also introduced to a favourite Oxford pasttime – punting on the river!

Finally, the group had the opportunity to learn from Krish Raval MBE, founder of Faith in Leadership, who led them through an reflective exercise about their own leadership styles.

This year, as part of the IJCIC Fellowship in Interreligious Leadership, the Jewish cohort participated in a pilot project of four virtual workshops to prepare them for their encounter with their Catholic peers. They studied with Dr. Adam Gregerman (St. Joseph’s University), Rabbi Dr. David Sandmel (Chair Emeritus of IJCIC), and Elena Dini (John Paul II Center) to learn about the history of Jewish-Catholic relations and current issues.