web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Christians Recognizing Themselves In A Jewish Mirror


Adlerstein-032213

Share Button

A popular aphorism had it that “wie es sich Christelt, so Juedelt es sich” – as things go for Christians, so they go for Jews. In 2013, however, the conditions for some 200 million Christians can be read from the pages of Jewish history.

When important Christian groups sought to build new bridges of respect after the Holocaust, we told them “If you want to understand us, study our story and learn of our pain.” Thus began a golden age of interfaith activity. Most of us in the Orthodox world refused to take part in ecumenical dialogue of a religious nature. We did, at times, take part in strategic alliances that were mutually beneficial to our communities, as well as maintain friendships on a local level that allowed us to call upon each other for assistance when needed.

Participants or not, we all benefited from an atmosphere in which influential Christians were more understanding and supportive of Jewish concerns over Soviet Jewry and Israel.

On a major website devoted to religious life in the U.S., one of us recently wrote about how Christians were increasingly seeing themselves in a Jewish mirror. In a huge swath of territory from Nigeria east and north to Iran and Pakistan, millions of Christians live in fear of losing their property or their lives simply because they are Christians.

In the Assyrian Triangle of Iraq, a campaign of church burning, clergy killing and terror has all but decimated the historically oldest Christian communities. Egypt’s Copts, a full ten percent of that country’s population and treated for decades as second-class citizens, now face an even more uncertain future as Egypt’s constitution moves the country closer to Sharia.

Christians who study Jewish history learn that for close to two thousand years, even when Jews were not being killed, they were terrorized and marginalized – often in the name of Christianity. They could not speak their mind or voice opinions about political matters. Anything they said might be used against them with fatal consequences as leadership changed, or rulers changed their minds about protecting “their” Jews from expulsion or death.

Moreover, on the rare occasions they enjoyed enough protection to speak or act, they knew they might be endangering their coreligionists elsewhere and so learned to remain mute even in the face of horrific tragedy.

Christian minorities today have learned to keep silent. Christian clergy in Muslim countries have had to turn the other cheek not for religious and moral reasons but because speaking up against their masters would endanger too many in their own community or in those of nearby countries.

Indeed, the only Mideast country in which the Christian population is increasing and Christians enjoy complete freedom of religion is Israel. Yet many Christian clergy in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon parrot the anti-Israel invective of those who control their neighborhoods.

Christians in certain parts of the world are now seen as detested outsiders. Open Doors, a Christian ministry devoted to assisting persecuted believers, reported recently that despite the many centuries of Christian roots in Syria, some Islamist Syrians have been telling their Christian neighbors to “go back to their own country.” In their view, Christians have become the “other,” foreigners in the country in which they live.

Christians who listen to the Jewish saga begin to understand how Jews lived with themselves through the long centuries of persecution. Jews felt that truth was not something to be compromised or sacrificed, even if it meant they continued on only as a tiny fleck of mankind.

Interestingly, those who mocked Jews for their insignificance now consider voluntarily choosing to live with the same ethic. Writing as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in Das Salz von der Erde, Pope Benedict made a startling confession:

We might have to part with the notion of a popular Church. It is possible that we are on the verge of a new era in the history of the Church, under circumstances very different from those we have faced in the past, when Christianity will resemble the mustard seed, that is, will continue only in the form of small and seemingly insignificant groups, which yet will oppose evil with all their strength and bring Good into this world.

Share Button

About the Author: Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein is director of interfaith affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the associate dean of the Center.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

One Response to “Christians Recognizing Themselves In A Jewish Mirror”

  1. Jeanne Myers says:

    Yeshua said that ALL who followed Him would suffer some form of 'persecution', and that's exactly what's going on, and PLEASE remember that NOT all 'christians' (PLEASE notice the lower case letters here?) sided with those who turned on and killed the Jews, what about those who laid down their lives for and went to 'their deaths' by helping the Jews as well? There are MANY of us who have a True heart for G-d's people and Do understand what you're going through, DAILY, and stand With and By you in your fight for your land. We Will continue to "Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem", just as YHWH and Yeshua have asked us to do. Shalom to you and yours, and your people too.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Indepth Stories
matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

Masked Palestinian Authority Arabs hurl blocks at Israel Police during and after "worship" at Temple Mount mosque. (archive photo)

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

More Articles from Rabbis Yitzchok Adlerstein and Abraham Cooper
UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) during a joint press conference at Abbas' headquarters in Ramallah, 15 August 2013.

Not one world leader holds Abbas accountable for his part in the breakdown of negotiations.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center. Our job is to stay on top of trends around the world, advocating for Jewish and for human-rights causes.

Across Europe, the lid has come off the demons repressed for a few decades after the Holocaust.

The Anglicans are urging their faithful to “educate the church about the impact of illegal settlements” on the West Bank.

A popular aphorism had it that “wie es sich Christelt, so Juedelt es sich” – as things go for Christians, so they go for Jews. In 2013, however, the conditions for some 200 million Christians can be read from the pages of Jewish history.

No Jewish voices were invited as the World Council of Churches (WCC) convened in Bern, Switzerland this month “an international ecumenical debate” to consider the theological issues related to the Holy Land and help it formulate positions regarding “the Promised Land, the Church and Israel, justice and peace.”

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/christians-recognizing-themselves-in-a-jewish-mirror/2013/03/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: