The inquisition - what a show!

So last night I was with a crowd of other Jewish professionals at the Jewish Center, the Orthodox shul that once was led by Mordecai Kaplan. That, I admit, is not blog-worthy. What is worth noting, though, is that the event was a lecture by Cardinal Egan. A bishop preaching from the pulpit in an Orthodox shul - I can hear Mel Brooks in my head "What is this? the inquistion?" I hate to to say it, but the forced sermons of the inquistion would have been more engaging than his extended shmooze. The bishop spoke personally about the many Jews in his life growing up in the Chicago suburbs (naming countless Jewish sounding names that were familiar to few if any in the crowd) , he delivered stale jokes about bagels and smoked salmon (three times), and he recalled civil rights and labor struggles that were old news thirty years ago. He had suprisingly little - or rather I should say nothing - to say about the current social climate except that we should work together on the pressing issues of our day. He did not give any hint to what those issues might be. Sadly, this was yet another example of a missed opportunity. Maybe the real dialogue happens back stage - or at the bar after the lecture - but it certainly was not evident in the shul. I did get to meet an interesting Catholic professor from Iona - and the reception featured a nice samosa like puff thingy.