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Forgiveness

Linda Neale - Monday, March 02, 2015

Recently, I was invited to participate in a panel presentation on forgiveness sponsored by the Oregon Jewish Museum and Holocaust Remembrance Center.  The discussion was based on The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Weisenthal.    If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it.  In the first hundred pages of this book,  Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal recounts his encounter with a dying German soldier who asked to speak with "a Jew" in order to seek forgiveness. Wiesenthal then invites everyone into the discussion, throwing open his personal experience for judgment in a series of short essays offered by philosophers, theologians, scholars, and religious leaders who offer their thoughts on what Wiesenthal should or could have done. On Sunday a rabbi, a Catholic lay minister, a Muslim woman, and I were invited to weigh in on our various perspectives on forgiveness. I found it interesting that I was included in this esteemed panel, partly because I do not have an “official” religious position, and partly because I’ve always had a problem with the concept of forgiveness. It was a good discussion, and raised many issues for me.  I hope it does the same for you.  The following are highlights of my own personal perspective on forgiveness.  I invite all readers to share their own perspective in the comments section -- I'll print your response.
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