BY CAROL GLATZ IN ROME
IN AN EFFORT to keep Israelis informed about the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, Vatican Radio has invited an expert in Jewish-Christian relations to translate Synod news and texts into Hebrew.
Hana Bendcowsky, a Jewish expert on early Church history and programme director of the Jerusalem Centre for JewishChristian Relations, said only a person who fully understands both the Christian and Jewish histories and points of view can properly translate not just the words, but the real, intended meanings behind the texts.
Jesuit Fr David Neuhaus, vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, had asked Miss Bendcowsky if she would offer her help during the October 10-24 Synod at the Vatican. Both Fr Neuhaus and Fr Pizzaballa are attending the Synod proceedings.
The Church has often faced extremely negative fallout in the Israeli press after a controversial or sensitive decision was blown out of proportion or manipulated by the media, said Miss Bendcowsky.
Some examples, she said, included Pope Benedict XVI’s rewriting of a Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews and his lifting the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson.