The Encounter Becomes Official: Hindu-Jewish Summits

  • Alon Goshen-Gottstein
Part of the Interreligious Studies in Theory and Practice book series (INSTTP)


The twenty-first century has seen a series of defining moments in Jewish-Hindu relations, all in fairly close succession. The decade opened with the sheitel crisis that provided public testimony to how Hinduism is viewed among the ultra-Orthodox almost exclusively through the lens of Avoda Zara. But shortly after these events new ground was broken in a series of high-profile public meetings and summits between Hindu and Jewish religious leaders. The first of these was a meeting between Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks of England and Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain. The meeting that took place in 2004 was not strictly speaking a meeting of religious leaders. Accordingly it did not focus on issues of major religious significance, let alone differences.1 The common denominators to which the Chief Rabbi appealed in his statement were broad enough to give expression to the goodwill of the moment, without implicating him in any meaningful theological statement. Thus, the Chief Rabbi is quoted as saying:

We both honour our past while living in the present. We both seek to honour our traditions while contributing as members of British society. We both cherish our communities, our families and our children.


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  1. 4.
    Anna Guttman’s Writing Indians and Jews: Metaphorics of Jewishness in South Asian Literature, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2013,CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 5.
    The sole exception has been Ananda, Hindu View of Judaism, APC Publications, New Delhi, 1996.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    See Arvind Sarma (ed.), Part of the Problem, Part of the Solution: Religion Today and Tomorrow, Greenwood Publishing, Westport, CT, 2008, pp. 80–84.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    see Barbara Holdrege, What Have Brahmins to Do with Rabbis? Embodied Communities and Paradigms of Religious Traditions, Shofar 17, 3, 1999, pp. 23–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Alon Goshen-Gottstein 2016

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  • Alon Goshen-Gottstein

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