Los Angeles Catholic-Jewish Women’s Conference gathers for annual Dialogue

The Los Angeles Catholic-Jewish Women’s Conference, a dialogue that works to “promote understanding and good fellowship in the Los Angeles area between people of these two vital religious traditions,” recently held its 36th conference at USC’s Caruso Catholic Center is downtown Los Angeles.  Titled “The Song of Songs: The Sacredness of Sexuality,” the conference is sponsored by the Martin Gang Institute, a joint venture of AJC Los Angeles and LMU Extension.

The conference, which meets annually in November, traditionally involves a keynote address, dialogue, group discussion and some sort of cultural exchange (such as music).  It was established in 1977 by Monsignor Royale Vadakin and the late-Rabbi Alfred Wolf as one of many steps in making Nostra Aetate (The Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions promulgated during the Second Vatican Council in 1965) a reality in Los Angeles.

The most recent gathering was covered by The Tidings newspaper:

An examination of differing and, at times overlapping, allegorical and literal interpretations of the Song of Songs was the subject of the 37th annual Catholic-Jewish Women’s Conference Nov. 11 at the USC Caruso Catholic Center.

With women filling the pews of Our Savior Catholic Church, “Song of Songs: The Sacredness of Sexuality” was assessed by the keynote speakers — Rabbi Gail Labovitz, Ph.D., associate professor of rabbinic literature at American Jewish University in Bel Air, and Lisa Fullam, D.V.M., Th.D., associate professor of moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University.

Included in both the Hebrew Bible and Christian versions of the Old Testament, the Song of Songs (also referred to as Song of Solomon or Canticles) is a series of lyrical poems presented as a lengthy dialogue between a young woman and her husband-to-be. A third party, or chorus, occasionally addresses the couple as well.

Early Hebrew and Christian scholars described the love story depicted in Song of Songs as an allegory for God’s love of humankind, and/or for the intensity of divine love as experienced by the human heart. In keeping with this interpretation, during the first century the influential Jewish leader Rabbi Akiva maintained that the book was the “Holy of Holies,” thereby securing its place in biblical canon.

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Click here to read the full article at the-tidings.com.

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