At SCoJeC's invitation, Archbishop Mario Conti, members of the Catholic Committee for Inter-religious Dialogue, and the Council of Christians and Jews visited Giffnock Synagogue on a snowy Tu biShvat (New Year for Trees).
The event began with a tour of the synagogue and a talk about aspects of the building given by Rabbi Rubin after which there was a question and answer session in which the Archbishop actively participated.
This was followed by a light meal, at which the Archbishop presented Rabbi Rubin with a large basket of fruit. Rabbi Rubin then spoke about the meaning of the festival, and the Archbishop spoke of the importance of developing good relations between the Jewish and Roman Catholic communities. "In a world of increasing secularism" he said, "it is important that the voice of faith is heard and together that voice can be stronger than if each individual faith speaks only for itself."
Sister Isabel Smyth agreed, saying that "The whole evening was characterised by friendship. Those attending from both communities were people who have been engaged in inter-faith dialogue for a number of years and knew one another well. This is a strong foundation on which new and developing relations can be developed and hopefully this celebration will be the first of a number of meetings which will deepen old friendships and create new ones."
SCoJeC Chair, Walter Sneader, also welcomed the commitment to dialogue from the Archbishop and Rabbi Rubin, and closed the proceedings by thanking all those who had braved the snow to attend.