Gathering Around the Tree of Life

16 May 2022
Open to All
Garnethill Synagogue in Glasgow. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Garnethill Synagogue in Glasgow. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Time: 18:00 - 19:30 | GMT+02:00

Webinar on renewing Jewish-Lutheran Relations in times of social hostility and polarization

The urgency of renewing Jewish-Christian relations today will be the subject of this webinar.  Lutheran and Jewish participants will offer a variety of perspectives on how to do this and what lessons we can learn during these times of social hostility and polarization. 

In 2018, a gunman entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Shabbat, shouting his desire to kill Jews and shooting 11 people in the deadliest attack on Jews in American history.  In the current politically polarizing and conflict-ridden climate, there has been alarming escalation in virulent anti-Jewish rhetoric and violence around the globe.

For Lutherans, Martin Luther’s anti-Jewish writings have received both scholarly attention and internal self-critique within the Lutheran communion. In the process of improving Jewish-Christian relations since 1947, the position of Lutheran churches in rejecting anti-Semitism and affirming the integrity and dignity of the Jewish faith was stated clearly at the LWF Assembly in Budapest in 1984. On that same occasion, LWF’s member churches also clearly distanced themselves from Martin Luther’s writings and expressions against Jews. 

At the same time, there are many people in different parts of the world where Christians may not have direct contact with Jewish friends or neighbors.  Both the shocking news reports and these historic theological developments might seem very distant and disconnected from their daily lives. Join our speakers from the Jewish community and the global Lutheran communion to reflect on the importance of renewing this interfaith relationship today.


  • Rev. Rivka Schunk, Theological Research Assistant, The Lutheran World Federation

Opening Remarks

  • Eva Christina Nilson, Director of Department of Theology, Mission and Justice, The Lutheran World Federation
  • Rabbi Dr. Joseph Kanofsky, Kehillat Shaarei Torah, Canada

Discussion Speakers

  • Rabbi Dr. David Sandmel, Chair of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Relations, USA
  • Rabbi Tamar Elad-Applebaum, Founder of ZION: An Eretz Israeli Community in Jerusalem; and the co-founder of the Beit Midrash for Israeli Rabbis, Israel
  • Prof. Esther Menn, Dean of Academic Affairs; The Ralph W. and Marilyn R. Klein Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, USA
  • Dr Jakob Wirén, associate professor at Lund University and Theological advisor of Archbishop Antje Jackelén, Church of Sweden
  • Dr Leonard Chrysostomos Epafras, Faculty and researcher, Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies


  • Rev Dr Sivin Kit, Program Executive for Public Theology and Interreligious Relations, The Lutheran World Federation

Closing Remarks

  • Rabbi Josh Stanton, Spiritual leader of East End Temple in New York City and Senior Fellow of CLAL - The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership




Languages: English (with Spanish Interpretation)

Registration deadline: 16 May 2022

Garnethill Synagogue in Glasgow. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Garnethill Synagogue in Glasgow. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Time: 18:00 - 19:30 | GMT+02:00