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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Catholic Church’

Hungary’s Jewish Community Marks 70th Anniversary of Nazi Invasion

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The Hungarian Jewish community held a memorial event in front of the downtown Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest Wednesday to mark the 70th anniversary of the occupation of Hungary by the Nazi-led German Army.

The event, sponsored by the Jewish community but open to the public, comes after representatives of Mazsihisz, the Association of Hungarian Jewish Communities, voted to boycott state-sponsored Holocaust memorial programs.

“This event is the beginning of Holocaust commemorations in Hungary for the 70th anniversary of the Hungarian Holocaust,” said András Heisler, president of Mazsihisz, the Federations of Hungarian Jewish Communities, in the opening speech of the event, which drew thousands.

“In the name of the 600,000 Hungarian Jews killed during the Shoah, we raise our voice against those, who are in power, in whom as a minority we cannot trust,” said Heisler, expressing the Hungarian Jewish community’s disappointment with the government, which it accuses of shifting away national responsibility for the murder of the country’s Jews during the Holocaust.

Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, was invited to the event, but did not attend; however, his deputy, Zsolt Semjén, was present. The head of the Hungarian Catholic Church, Cardinal Peter Erdő, and Gusztav Bölcskei, Bishop of the Protestant Church in Hungary, also attended the program.

Hungarian general elections are set for April 6.

“In solidarity with the Hungarian Jews, we are not accepting the relativization of the Holocaust, not accepting the denial of the Holocaust, and not accepting the culture of amnesia, of forgetting,” Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, Ilan Mor, said at the event.

Tags: Breaking News, Holocaust memorial program, Mazsihisz, Association of Hungarian Jewish Communities, Viktor Orban

 

Painting of Jews Murdering Christian Children to Go on Display

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

A controversial 18-century painting depicting the ritual murder of Christian children by Jews, will be available to viewers in the cathedral of Sandomierz, Poland. The painting, “Mord Rytualny” or “Ritual Murder,” was painted by Charles de Prevot,

A plaque will be mounted next to the painting, which will inform viewers that the Jews did not actually commit ritual murder, because their faith prohibits it.

The painting has been mounted on the wall of the cathedral for many years, but has been hidden behind a red curtain because of its offensive nature.

The painting will go on display again on Thursday, as the Catholic Church marks its international Day of Judaism.

In the eighteenth century, Charles de Prevot painted a series of paintings, “Martyrologium Romanum,” depicting the martyrdom of Christians. These paintings show brutal and realistic scenes of tortured and murdered Christians by pagans. The painting depicting the ritual murder has been covered since 2006.

The ‘Them Vs. Us’ Shtetl Mentality Protects Sexual Predators

Friday, May 31st, 2013

In an op-ed piece by Rabbi William Handler published by The Jewish Press May 26, 2013, he warns that secular authorities, in particular New York child protection services and law enforcement, engage in overzealous investigations of reports of child maltreatment within the Orthodox communities, and persecute those accused of sexual crimes against children. With the same breath he offers his “sincere” concern that no one should minimize the harm done by sexual abuse of a child. His solution—let the gedolei Yisroel (true experts in matters of the laws of marriage and divorce) handle it.

This position is naïve at best, and dangerous if taken seriously.

The sexual abuse of children in our society is a national epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1-in-4 girls and 1-in-6 boys will be sexually abused by the time they are 18 years old. This is not a problem unique to the Orthodox Jewish Community, it crosses all social, religious and economic strata of our society.

For at least the past decade, since the exposure of the depth and breadth of the problem with Catholic Priest abuse, this issue has been in the forefront of our collective consciousness. We have learned, in great detail, how predators engage and groom their prey; about the incurable nature of the psychological disorders of pedophilia (abuse of pre-pubescent children) and ephebophilia (abuse of post pubescent children); about the latent and delayed psychological injuries that manifest later in adult life; and about the cost to our society in general. These issues have been the subject of studies by leading authorities in the field of child maltreatment who engage in scientific methodologies and peer reviewed presentations.

To suggest that the work of these experts should be rejected in favor of someone who has studied the biblical laws of marriage and divorce belies any sense of reason. To conjure up fear of persecution and advocate a “them against us,” this Shtetl mentality as a way of protecting sexual predators is criminal.

This kind of advocacy within the Jewish Community by community leaders such as Rabbi Handler does a disservice to the community, makes the Orthodox community suspect in the eyes of law enforcement, and provokes distrust within the larger national community. This kind of approach becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you have more concern about avoiding scandal and protecting sexual predators than you do for the welfare of children, you can be sure that the world will come to disrespect you. Ask the Catholic Church how it feels about that.

Chief Rabbis Praise Vatican for ‘Banning Terror in God’s Name’

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel on Thursday reacted to the election of Pope Francis I by highlighting his predecessors’ “rich and fruitful dialogue …with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel on primary issues such as banning terrorism in God’s Name, the sanctity of life and the sanctity of the family unit.”

The office of the Chief Rabbis said the dialogue led to Pope Benedict XVI “to heed the Chief Rabbinate’s request and suspend Holocaust-denier Bishop Richard Williamson, and the modification of sections of the Good Friday liturgy that were harsh and insulting towards the Jewish People.”

The Rabbinate also noted statements by Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II that “Jews are the elder brothers, and even the parents, of Christian believers.”

They added that both popes joined the fight against anti-Semitism n Europe and elsewhere,

“The Chief Rabbinate of Israel is confident that Pope Francis, whose good relations with the Jewish People are well known, will keep the same spirit, and strengthen and develop the Roman Catholic Church’s connections with the State of Israel and the Jewish People,” the office of Israel’s two chief rabbis added.

Jewish Leaders Praise New Pope

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Jewish leaders praised the new Pope Francis, Argentinean Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and expressed optimism for an improvement of Vatican-Jewish relations after he was elected Wednesday night to replace Pope Benedict XVI.

“We have every reason to be confident Pope Francis I will be a staunch defender of the historic Nostra Aetate, the declaration on the relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council, which forever changed the relationship of the Catholic Church and the Jewish people,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center

Bergoglio, 76, a Jesuit, was the choice of the College of Cardinals following two days of voting in Vatican City. He is the first pope to come from outside Europe in more than a millennium; reflecting the changing demographics of Catholics, he comes from Latin America.

Rabbi David Rosen, the director of interfaith affairs for the American Jewish Committee, told JTA that the new pope is a “warm and sweet and modest man” known in Buenos Aires for doing his own cooking and personally answering his phone.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio attended Rosh Hashanah services at the Bnei Tikva Slijot synagogue in September 2007.  Bergoglio told the congregation that he was there to examine his heart “like a pilgrim, together with you, my elder brothers,” according to the Catholic Zenit news agency.

After the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in 1994, he “showed solidarity with the Jewish community,” Rosen said.

In 2005, Bergoglio was the first public personality to sign a petition for justice in the AMIA bombing and was one of the signatories on a document called “85 victims, 85 signatures” as part of the bombing’s 11th anniversary. In June 2010, he visited the rebuilt AMIA building to talk with Jewish leaders.

Israel Singer, former head of the World Jewish Congress, said he spent time working with Bergoglio when the two were distributing aid to the poor in Buenos Aires in the early 2000s, part of a joint Jewish-Catholic program called Tzedaka.

“We went out to the barrios where Jews and Catholics were suffering together,” Singer told JTA. “If everyone sat in chairs with handles, he would sit in the one without. He was always looking to be more modest. He’s going to find it hard to wear all these uniforms.”

Bergoglio also wrote the forward of a book by Rabbi Sergio Bergman and referred to him as “one of my teachers.”

Last November, Bergoglio hosted a Kristallnacht memorial event at the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral with Rabbi Alejandro Avruj from the NCI-Emanuel World Masorti congregation.

He also has worked with the Latin American Jewish Congress and held meetings with Jewish youth who participate in its New Generations program.

“The Latin American Jewish Congress has had a close relationship with Jorge Bergoglio for several years,” Claudio Epelman, executive director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, told JTA. “We know his values and strengths. We have no doubt he will do a great job leading the Catholic Church.”

Goodbye to a Good Pope

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

The big news yesterday was that due to issues with his health Pope Benedict is resigning as Pope effective February 28th… in just a couple of weeks.

Why should an Orthodox Jew care what goes on in the Catholic Church? Well… when a religion boasts membership in the billions, what happens there definitely affects us. Not in any theological way. But most certainly in a sociological one.

The fact that The Catholic Church is the direct and unbroken chain of Christianity going back to the 2nd Temple era… and that their religion stems from Jewish roots add to that importance. So too does the fact that the Jewish people and the Church have been intimately intertwined over the two millennia since Christianity’s founding – mostly not for the better. I need not go into all the pogroms and other anti Semitic acts perpetrated against the Jewish people in the name of their religion. Suffice it to say that it was responsible for much carnage toward our people.

That of course all changed with Vatican II. Although many Jews are still suspect about the motives of the Church and believe it to be just a new ploy in trying to convert us, I believe that the change in their attitude was sincere. They no longer consider us ‘Christ killers.’ They no longer say that Judaism has lost its legitimacy and has been replaced by Christianity. They now consider us their ‘older brother’ religion and quite legitimate.

Since Vatican II there has been great progress between the Catholic church and the Jewish people. Our relationship has never been better. And the current Pope deserves credit for that. No one said it better than this:

“During his period (as pope) there were the best relations ever between the church and the chief rabbinate and we hope that this trend will continue,” “I think he deserves a lot of credit for advancing inter-religious links the world over between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.” “(I wish the Pope) good health and long days.

These are the words of Rabbi Yona Metzger, Chief Rabbi of Israel. I could not have said better myself. I hope that the next Pope will be no worse… and that relations continue to improve.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Obamacare And That Religious Exemption

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

The Affordable Health Care Act is the official title of what has become known, primarily to its opponents, as Obamacare. It provides for a variety of changes in the American health care system and has generated enormous controversy, some of which will be the focus of the Supreme Court in the next few months. But debate over the mandated coverage of the cost of birth control has erupted over the past two weeks and may well roil the political waters during the presidential campaign season, depending how Obamacare fares in its Supreme Court test.

Among the Obamacare requirements, employer-provided health insurance plans must cover various means of birth control. The Catholic Church and leaders of some other faiths had sought a broad exemption for religious institutions that oppose birth control. However, on January 20, the Department of Health and Human Services, with presidential approval, adopted a much narrower exemption and the ensuing controversy began boiling over.

The HHS religious exemption applies only to organizations that primarily restrict their employment and services to members of their own faith. This would include houses of worship and parochial schools but would not include institutions like hospitals; social service agencies, charities and institutions of higher learning sponsored and run by a religious entity that opposes contraception on religious grounds.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius argues that the narrow religious exemption is an appropriate attempt “to strike the right balance” between respecting religious beliefs and “increasing women’s access to critical preventive health services.”

Yet it is not quite that simple. The bottom line is that it would force an entity like the Catholic Church, which sponsors a broad array of secular programs servicing the larger community, to underwrite activity it believes to be sinful in order to continue those efforts.

This is an issue that has legs, especially in this presidential political season. The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan wrote a column titled, “A Battle the President Can’t Win” in which she suggested that with his approval of the HHS rule, “…President Obama just may have lost the election.” She noted that there are 77.7 million Catholics in the United States who in 2008 made up 27 percent of the electorate. Significantly, Mr. Obama carried the Catholic vote, 54 percent to 45 percent. Ms. Noonan also pointed out that “a lot of Catholics” live in “the battleground states.” Catholic League head Bill Donohue spoke of a broad-based public attack on the rule and the mobilization of Catholic voters.

Apparently feeling the heat, David Axelrod, a senior political adviser to President Obama, went out of his way to defend the narrow religious exemption but also seemed to back off ever so slightly. Speaking in an MSNBC interview, he said the administration didn’t intend to “abridge anyone’s religious freedom” with the new regulation.

“This is an important issue,” he said. “It’s important for millions of women around the country. We want to resolve it in an appropriate way and we’re going to do that.” But significantly, he added that he was “less concerned about the messaging of this than finding a resolution that makes sense,” noting that affected institutions have more than a year and a half to come into compliance and that “I think we need to lower our voices and get together.”

The issue of contraception is traditionally identified with the Catholic Church and so is the current coverage controversy. Yet the Jewish community certainly has an interest in the issue of contraception coverage, though it has nothing approaching the social service and charitable structure of the Catholic Church.

Our community certainly shares in the concern for any governmental policy that imposes a substantial burden on the religious sector’s ability to adhere to religious tenets. We must follow this story as it unfolds and be heard.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/obamacare-and-that-religious-exemption/2012/02/08/

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