Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, Senior Rabbi at Park Avenue Synagogue and the Anti-Defamation League’s Rabbinical Adviser on Interfaith Affairs, traveled to Rome where he attended the Vatican ceremony which elevated New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan to the position of Cardinal. Cosgrove, who has “written extensively about Jewish theology and the foundations of Jewish belief,” has played a significant part in “fostering interfaith relations between Jews and Catholics.”
Archbishop Dolan’s positive and proactive efforts since his appointment in New York to reach out to and embrace the Jewish community have been noteworthy. Speaking to the Algemeiner, Rabbi Cosgrove recalled that the Park Avenue Synagogue, where he is Senior Rabbi, hosted the Jewish community’s welcome to the Cardinal soon after his arrival in New York City as Archbishop. Cosgrove has welcomed the newly elevated Cardinal to the synagogue for continued dialogue since that occasion.
Asked by the Algemeiner why he encouraged such dialogue, Rabbi Cosgrove noted that “first and foremost, there is dialogue. As Archbishop, Cardinal Dolan, in the first few weeks of his residence, came to an interfaith Seder (ceremonial Passover meal) with the Anti Defamation League, which has been a point of contact with the Catholic community and the Jewish community.” Continuing, the Rabbi noted that the Archbishop’s friendship with the Jewish community in New York was a continuation of his position in his previous position.
The Algemeiner asked Rabbi Cosgrove how he felt about being at the Vatican for the elevation ceremony. Said the Rabbi, “I’m making the journey for the same reason you go to anyone’s simcha – to celebrate memories of a past relationship, a present relationship, and express great hope for a future relationship.” He continued, saying that “the idea of being present at the elevation to the position of Cardinal is thrilling. It is a moment of great pride for New York City and for the Archbishop – now the Cardinal – and his entire circle of friends in the interfaith community.”
Rabbi Cosgrove traveled in his capacity as Interfaith liaison to the Anti Defamation League (ADL), a lay volunteer office. He was joined by Rabbi Noam Marrins of the American Jewish Committee.
Should he have an opportunity to meet the Pope, asked the Algemeiner, what questions would the Rabbi pose? Said Cosgrove, “I would probably ask him what he believes should be the role of the faith community in the various conflicts facing humanity.” Rabbi Cosgrove said he would ask what the most productive roll for the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities to play, especially in light of the stories of conflict reported in the news.”
Would the Rabbi encourage any theological discussion, asked the Algemeiner? “Christians and Jews share a great deal. We both believe in the equal and infinite dignity of every human being created in the image of G-d. That shared language – though it might not resolve issues in the Middle East immediately, is the first step towards any resolution of political of crisis and conflicts.”