«Rbe with us this evening, we are organizing a dance workshop with the young people! “ When Marie Sellier returns to the Liberal Jewish Community (CJL) of Île-de-France, in Paris, Galit almost falls into her arms. A few months earlier, the two young women did not yet know each other. History student and dancer, the first, 25 years old, striped shirt and curly hair, is Catholic, leader of pioneer-caravels (14-17 years) Scouts et Guides de France (SGDF) at Kremlin-Bicêtre (Val-de-Marne) ). Until last spring, she did not know ” not much “ to Judaism.
Nose piercing, bob with a bovine motif screwed on the head, the second, 18, is a leader in the liberal Jewish youth movement Netzer. Daughter of the rabbi, until recently she did not perceive scouting “Only through his American clichés”. Both assert it bluntly: it is Mary’s coming for an internship here, as part of the passage of her SGDF Interfaith Dialogue (BDI) certificate, that will have allowed their prejudices to be broken down.
Concretely, what does this patent, launched in France in January, consist of? “With the support of a tutor, he offers, in one year, the adults of the movement to reappropriate their Catholic faith, and to go to meet another religion”, sums up Father Xavier de Verchère, chaplain general of the SGDF. Originally, Mary’s inscription in it emanated from a certain admission of helplessness. “I wanted to have original ideas to talk about the interfaith issue, which is difficult to tackle with teenage scouts…”, traces the chief, sensitized ” always “ interfaith, with a Senegalese Muslim mother and a Catholic father.
Declined in four stages, the BDI course is demanding. “It involves first of all a personal time of retreat, of introspection around the texts and prayers of the tradition of the Church”, specifies the Salesian priest. For Marie, it was a weekend in March, at the Benedictines of the Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre. And the course then offers a one-week immersion in the service of another community. “It is the participant who chooses this place: youth movement, association of a district where many Muslims live …”, continues Verchère’s father. Marie, she wanted to turn to Judaism, “The basis of monotheism”.
Solidarity cooking workshops, learning the Hebrew alphabet, community prayers … “I learned a lot at the end of May by coming to the CJL. There were no taboos, I could ask all the questions I wanted ”, she smiles. “She quickly put herself in a learning position”, remembers Anna, 35, student rabbi and head of Netzer, again noting the relevance of the BDI: “While a poor understanding of secularism in France gives rise to a lot of tension and antagonism between religious communities, it is essential that ‘youth leaders’ seize on this type of tool to make themselves aware of the reality of other believers, and go beyond caricatures. “
On condition, however, to avoid the pitfalls of angelism, or naivety, by seeking to erase the differences in religious identities. “Interfaith dialogue is difficult. It supposes to be attached to what makes knots. But if I am aware that I am confronting myself here with another theology, without constantly seeking to bring it back to mine, I can be in a debate which does not intrinsically do me violence ”, continues the manager of Netzer. “With the BDI, I understood in particular that the main danger was to find out who is right”, abounds Marie. In its course, the course still recommends a “Proofreading time”, around what could have been “Push, or hurt” registrants.
But very few of them have made it that far. “The project was slowed down by the Covid, notes the chaplain general, but we feel that it meets strong expectations, and can allow young people to talk creatively about interfaith. ” Marie has already brought her scout group to the CJL in June for a cooking workshop with the young people of Netzer. And beyond that, she takes care to maintain her personal links with the community. ” Besides, she suddenly smiles in Galit’s direction, see you on the 1stis December ? I was invited here, for Hanukkah… ”