Dutch ministers visit Schechter Insitute during PThU Study Trip to Israel
There is a long collaboration between the Schechter Institute Jerusalem and the Protestant Theological University (PThU) in the Netherlands. Since 2018, this collaboration has been expanded with a staff and student exchange through the Erasmus + program of the European Union. On January 27, PThU professor Dineke Houtman visited the Schechter Institute with 23 ministers from the Protestant church in the Netherlands who undertook a study trip to Israel as part of their continuing education. The theme of the tour was a reflection on the relation between Judaism and Christianity. The minister came from the width of the Protestant Church from liberal to orthodox.
The visit started with a walk on the grounds near the Schechter Institute guided by the Schechter dean prof. Doron Bar. The old olive trees here once stood far beyond the walls of the city. Now this is the new heart of Israel. The grove borders the Knesset, the Israel Museum, encroaching suburbs and the Monastery of the Cross. The latter is an age-old monastery fortification, where legend has it that the tree from which the cross wood comes grows. The oasis of tranquillity almost collapses under the expansion of the city. The guided walk gave an interesting insight in the recent development of te town.
The ministers then studied together with the Schechter students of the Midrash class of Gila Vachman in chrevutah a text from the Babylonian Talmud about the care of the poor. It became clear in steps how the poor, hungry and thirsty should be understood which caused an interesting interreligious dialogue. Just like the background of the pastors, the background of the Schechter students turned out to be very diverse, the group included believers from different denominations, but also secular Israelis. The conversations in small groups were lively and intense.
The meeting at the Schechter Institute was a valuable element in the twelve-day study tour of the ministers, confirming the value of the cooperation between the two institutes.