- Aug 1, 2014
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- Political Leaning
'We Curse Christianity Three Times a Day': Can Jews and Christians Truly Reconcile?
An illuminating and important new book by historian Karma Ben Johanan, “Reconciliation and Its Discontents: Unresolved Tensions in Jewish-Christian Relations,” deals with the reciprocal conceptions of Catholics and Orthodox Jews in the era of reconciliation. Its first part is devoted to the enthusiasm on the Christian side at drawing closer to the Jews, as well as with the internal debates that arose in the Church after the reconciliation. In its second section, the book discusses the chilly responses of Orthodox Judaism, including the suspicions aroused by the Christians’ eagerness to turn a new leaf, and the rabbis’ concern over the possibility of excessive closeness.
This riveting book by Ben Johanan, a scholar of Christian-Jewish relations and theology who is currently teaching at the Humboldt University of Berlin, is based on library research and personal interviews with some of its protagonists. It is written with scholarly momentum and enriches the reader with essential information to help us understand both ourselves and the Other. The author is to be congratulated on her splendid writing, fresh style and eloquent, cogent turn of phrase.
In its second part, the book presents the internal Orthodox Jewish discourse about Christianity. The author purposefully chose Orthodoxy, of all the options, as a counterweight to the Catholic Church because of its hegemonic standing in Israel and its critical role in defining Jewish identity, although it’s doubtful this choice will curry favor with liberal American Jews. By the end, Ben Johanan concludes that, whereas Christian discourse aims at conciliation, Orthodox Jewish discourse responded to Christianity with growing hostility, which predated the Second Vatican Council and deepened thereafter.
An increasingly negative attitude toward Christianity is also seen in attempts to restore to Jewish literature expressions inimical to Christianity and to reveal anew the truth that was concealed and censored, ever since the invention of printing, for fear of incurring Christian wrath. Among the censors in the past, some genuinely wished to be enlightened Jews, as Israeli historian Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin has shown. Normalization and political freedom eliminated the fear of Christianity and served to compensate for the inferiority Jews felt for so long.
Another question considered by the halakhic literature is whether, now that the Jews possessed power, the State of Israel should destroy the churches under its rule, or whether this course of action should be avoided only because of fear of infuriating the “goyim,” as Rabbi Yehuda Gershuni (a student of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook) and Rabbi Menachem Kasher maintained.
Regrettably, while the Church is moving forward and calling for interfaith conciliation and fraternity, Jewish Orthodox circles are reviving the old controversy and claiming victory. Rabbi Cherki even expects the Christians to believe in the Jewish people in place of Jesus, because “Jew is the divine”! Manitou writes, “Gradually the Christians are discovering that the Jew does not need to Christianize but the Christian needs to Judaize.”
'We curse Christianity three times a day': Can Jews and Christians truly reconcile? - Books - Haaretz.com
Now that jews have successfully weakened and watered down the Christian faith in Europe and the US (they were behind eliminating school prayer, public displays of Christianity, and of course Hollywood's ever present ridiculing of every aspect of Christianity and Christians) jews are once again openly displaying the hatred of Christianity that repulsed Martin Luther, when he uncovered it for himself in the 16th century. Jews have not changed in their attitudes towards Christians, they're simply sensing a time when Christians will be powerless and dispossessed (thanks to the work of Jewish groups) and feeling emboldened to express their hatred of Christ and his followers. Orthodox Judaism is built in to the fabric of the government of Israel, and there is no separation between church and state in Israel as there is in the US & Europe. These anti-Christian views are officially the views of the State of Israel.