Saturday, December 19, 2009

In Gotham, Merry Timmukah

Seven nights after the archbishop of New York lit the Hannukah menorah's first candle (above) for his new Fifth Avenue neighbors -- and a month before B16 makes the second-ever papal visit to Rome's Synagogue -- late yesterday the following announcement came from the Big Apple chancery:
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan will celebrate the 10:15 a.m. Mass for the Fourth Sunday of Advent on December 20, 2009 at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in New York.

In a spirit of inter-faith friendship and good will, joining Archbishop Dolan at the Mass will be Rabbi David Posner, who will light the fourth candle on the Advent Wreath, marking the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

Rabbi Posner is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El, located on Fifth Avenue at 65th Street in Manhattan. In a similar way, Rabbi Posner had Archbishop Dolan light the menorah for the first night of Hanukah on December 11 at Temple Emanu-El.
A member of the national Jewish-Catholic dialogue since 2004, Dolan formally became the US church's lead hand on Jewish relations last month in succession to Cardinal William Keeler, who led the dialogue's Catholic delegation since 1983.

Likewise home to 2.5 million Catholics who comprise the nation's second-largest diocese, New York's Jewish community is the world's largest outside Israel.

As ever, the 10.15 will be broadcast live over the archdiocese's satellite radio Catholic Channel on Sirius XM... and that's not all for the day, either -- Dolan and another rabbi are slated to co-host a live holiday special tomorrow afternoon at 3pm Eastern. (For non-subscribers to the pay-radio service, a free, 30-day online preview is available.)

Sure, all this was sufficiently newsworthy from the get-go... but this morning's Roman "surprise" -- the declaration of Pope Pius XII's heroic virtue, which could make for yet another speed-bump in Catholic-Jewish relations -- adds a new dimension to the interplay that, of course, makes it worth watching all the more.