During the week covered by this review, we received 4 articles on the following subjects:
Christians and the Holocaust
Christians and the Holocaust
Matzav Haruach, March 30, 2018
In a recent conference organized by the Sal Van-Gelder Institute at Bar Ilan University, the subject of the place of the Holocaust in interreligious dialogue was discussed. Auxiliary bishop of Valencia, Esteban Escudero Torres, apologized for the fact that the Church stood by and did not do enough to help during the Holocaust. The bishop quoted Cardinal Cassidy, who twenty years ago said, “… the fact that the Holocaust happened in Europe, that is, in countries where there was an ancient Christian civilization, raises the question of the connection between Nazi oppression and the relationship between Christians and Jews through the centuries.” Torres apologized for the view that “our friends, the Jews” were deserving of a terrible fate given that they had turned their backs on God. The conference was attended by senior researchers from the University of Valencia, Valencia Catholic University, and The European Union.
The Jerusalem Post, April 1, 2018
President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, has long used Christian programming as a hub for marketing. The Fellowship has about 1.6 million Christian donors, and is the largest philanthropic organization in Israel. Recently, the Fellowship held a “star-studded” gala at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. The event, commemorating Israel’s 70th birthday, and the 35th anniversary of the Fellowship, also raised money for needy Jews in the former Soviet Union (FSU). The bulk of support for needy Jews and Holocaust survivors comes from Christians, but this gala aimed at also including more Jewish donors. Eckstein says this is important because “some Christians started asking, ‘Don’t Jews care about elderly Holocaust survivors who need food in the FSU?’ And that was embarrassing.” Eckstein also wants to strengthen Jewish identity in the Diaspora, where Jews increasingly feel alienated from “Israel and from Jewish life.” Jewish giving is down, and the majority of funds for traditional institutes like the Federation come from a few wealthy families. At the gala, Eckstein also announced the opening of a new $60 million headquarters in Jerusalem, near to the new US Embassy. The headquarters are meant to serve as a visitor’s center for Christians visiting the Holy Land, and a place to train Christians to be ambassadors of Israel.
The Jerusalem Post, April 4, 2018; The Jerusalem Post, April 5, 2018
Menorah Books and Israel365 are publishing a new edition of the bible, edited by Rabbi Tuly Weisz. The bible will be available in time for Israeli Independence Day, and highlights those verses that relate to Israel. This particular edition “… attempts to explain God’s focus on the land of Israel through traditional and contemporary commentaries, maps, charts, and illustrations.” The bible quotes every Israeli prime minister, and intentionally seeks to show that the bible’s prophecies are connected to the modern State of Israel. The dust cover, for example, has a picture of an ancient map of Israel together with a picture of Israeli paratroopers liberating the Western Wall 51 years ago. Weisz believes this bible will provide an opportunity for Jews to teach the nations Tanach (the Old Testament), thereby becoming a “light” to them. Christian Zionists provided financial backing through a crowdfunding campaign. The bible will be used in April by the Knesset during its second joint Christian-Jewish bible study. The bible study is run by Knesset Member Yehudah Glick, who says he chose this bible since “you [can] see that Israel is the Torah’s main theme and begin to understand the major role it plays. The Israel Bible helps you understand that the whole bible is about the Land of Israel – and that is a message for all of humanity.”