New York, NY, October 31, 2013 … A delegation of Jewish leaders from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today honored New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan for his stewardship of the local archdiocese and for his longstanding efforts to promote open interfaith dialogue between Catholics and Jews.
At a ceremony at his Manhattan residence, Cardinal Dolan was presented with a granite bench inscribed with the words, “The Garden is Where God Cradles the Soul.” The gathering served as a prelude to the ADL’s annual meeting, which begins on Thursday in New York City and will serve as capstone event of the League’s 2013 Centennial Year.
The bench was commissioned by ADL National Commissioner Ron Balser and ADL Centennial Chair Barbara B. Balser, his wife, and is modeled after a similar granite monument that graces the offices of the League’s National Headquarters in New York City.
“We welcome this opportunity to visit with you when ADL’s national leadership is again coming together here in New York to mark the centennial of our founding,” Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, told the cardinal. “This historic milestone cannot pass without acknowledging the strides ADL has helped achieve in Catholic-Jewish relations. … I cannot overstate your personal contribution to fostering this positive atmosphere.”
Among the other Jewish leaders present for the installation of the granite bench were Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair; Martin L. Budd, Co-Chair of ADL’s National Outreach and Interfaith Committee; and Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove, ADL’s Rabbinical Advisor on Interfaith Affairs and the senior rabbi of Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City.
Mr. Foxman praised the Cardinal’s “genuine understanding of Jewish sensibilities” and his generosity and hospitality in welcoming an ADL delegation to the Pontifical North American College in 2010 and his service as moderator for Catholic-Jewish dialogue on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“When you came to New York, you infused the faithful of the archdiocese with the same uplifting enthusiasm for pursuing the Biblical command: Love Your Neighbor,” said Mr. Foxman. “This level of mutual trust and respect illustrates the intimacy we strive for in the encounters between our faith communities.”
Mr. Balser told the Cardinal that the bench was created as a “special symbol of our gratitude, respect and friendship” and was specially designed for him after they learned of how much he had admired the granite bench at ADL headquarters, which bears the inscription “Respect is the Goal … Tolerance is Never Enough.”
“From here on, may all who enter your residence find the same inspiration as visitors to ADL,” said Mr. Balser. “We hope this will serve as a bond that binds us together as we go forward building bridges of understanding and, most importantly, promoting respect.”
Cardinal Dolan was named Archbishop of New York by Pope Benedict XVI on February 23, 2009. He also served as Archbishop of Milwaukee and, from 1994 to 2001 served as rector of the Pontical North American College in Rome.
ADL’s 2013 Annual Meeting will be held on Thursday and Friday, October 31-November 1, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. Catholic-Jewish relations are among the subjects on the agenda.
On Friday, a breakout session entitled, “On the Frontline in the Fight Against Anti-Semitism: Catholic Teachers and ADL’s Bearing Witness Program,” will offer testimonials from Catholic educators about the success of Bearing Witness, an educational program dealing with anti-Semitism and the Holocaust run in conjunction with ADL and the Catholic Archdiocese in Washington, D.C.