THE ESTHER SCROLL
Join us in honoring
Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin’s legacy in Jewish-Christian relations by dedicating a letter in our special Esther Scroll.
“…take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (Zechariah 8:23)
In January of 2008, a group of pastors touched the jacket of Rabbi Riskin and prayed the words of Zechariah 8:23 to inaugurate the first Orthodox Jewish institution dedicated to fostering relations with Christians based upon actualizing the Kingdom of G-d and sanctifying His will together. Since then, the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation has hosted tens of thousands of Christians in Israel by learning the Bible through a Hebraic perspective, fed Christians in the Holy Land who faced financial hardship, brought Christian leaders to Israel to gain a better understanding of the Land and its People, and pioneered a path of theological engagement that is respectful to each other’s religious beliefs. Besides publishing several academic treatises on Jewish-Christian relations, facilitating the first positive Orthodox Rabbinical Statement on Christianity, CJCUC also has brought together Jews and Christians in praising G-d, via Hallel (Psalms 113-118) on Israel’s Independence Day.
ABOUT RABBI RISKIN
For half a century, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin has been one of the Jewish community’s most articulate and most beloved spokespeople for a Judaism of warmth and inclusion, vibrancy and renewal. This is reflected in the depth and expansive reach of his Torah, his enormous influence on the global Jewish outreach movement, his founding leadership of Manhattan’s famed Lincoln Square Synagogue, his historic activism in support of Soviet Jewry, his visionary leadership as the founding Chief Rabbi of Efrat, and his herculean role as the founder and chief architect of the international Ohr Torah Stone network. His entire life has been dedicated to the Jewish People and the State of Israel.
At the age of 68, Rabbi Riskin changed the status quo of Jewish-Christian relations within the Orthodox Jewish movement by opening the first center to dialogue with the Christians based upon the biblical values of Kingdom, Holiness and Sanctification. Since 2008, the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) has hosted tens of thousands of Christians in Israel in learning the Bible together. The CJCUC staff have spoken in both churches and synagogues around the world, proclaiming a message that Judaism and Christianity can work together to turn a fragile and fragmented world into a united global community committed to a God of love and peace.
THE SCROLL OF ESTHER
The Scroll of Esther is part of the Hagiographa section of the Torah and is read twice on the holiday of Purim. This scroll is handwritten by a trained scribe with a quill and specialized ink on a parchment from a kosher animal. Esther has 10 chapters, 167 verses and 12,196 Hebrew letters.
Esther was written and canonized by the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit). When the Messiah comes, the holiday of Purim will continue to be celebrated as prophesied in the Scroll of Esther – And these days shall be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation, in every family, every province, and every city, and these days of Purim shall not be revoked from amidst the Jews, and their memory shall not cease from their seed (Esther 9:28).
From the beginnings of the Church to the Protestant Reformation, the Scroll of Esther has always been challenged to be part of Christian Scriptures. It is a miracle that Esther has remained in the Christian canon. Furthermore, the remnant of Christians standing with Israel and the Jewish people today find their biblical support within the Scroll of Esther – “…Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (4:14).
It is befitting then to honor Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s pioneering work in Jewish-Christian relations by honoring him with the Scroll of Esther.