Father_Shecker_&_Rabbi_SultarFather Bob Shecker and Rabbi Jeff Sultar join for an interfaith discussion on “The Garden of Eden – Then and Now,” on the evening of May 20.

Press release from The Church of the Nativity, Fair Haven

On Wednesday, May 20, Father Robert Shecker of the Church of the Nativity in Fair Haven will team up with Rabbi Jeff Sultar of Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson for a special interfaith discussion on the topic of the Garden of Eden – Then and Now.

Hosted at Nativity Parish Hall (180 Ridge Road) and open to all members of the community, the 7:30 pm program is free to attend, with refreshments and a public talk session to follow.

This program is the second in a series of interfaith programs between the two religious institutions. Last Spring, the CBI Adult Education Committee (Committee) invited Jewish-Catholic relations expert Professor Carol Rittner to speak on “The Popes and the Jews.” Jack Needle, of the committee, suggested that CBI include Nativity as one of its co-sponsors. Yona Shulman, chair of the committee was thrilled with the response.

“The CBI sanctuary was totally full that evening, and during the Q&A, a number of audience members from CBI and Nativity suggested that we meet again to learn more about one another’s faiths,” said Shulman. “I promised that we would schedule a joint learning session, and so a year later, we are holding this program, featuring a discussion of the well-known Garden of Eden story. By mixing attendees at discussion tables so that members of both faiths can engage in a dialogue, we hope to promote greater understanding and religious tolerance.”

“The story of the Garden of Eden is important to both Judaism and Christianity,” explained Rabbi Sultar. “This program will explore both the differences in how the two faiths read the same story, and also how each of these different readings still lead us to a shared responsibility to care for our environment.”

“Rabbi Sultar and Father Shecker are the perfect clergy leaders for this program, as they are eloquent, respected and beloved by their communities,” continued Shulman. “The discussion will be enriched by their guidance, scholarship and years of pastoral experience.  We’re very excited to bring this event to the community and feel that it will have a deep and lasting impact on all participants.”