During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the following subjects:
The Pope and the Vatican
The Pope and the Vatican
HaShabat B’Netanya, June 10, 2022
Countless tales have been told about the lost vessels from the Temple, one of which is the famous Menorah. A popular belief claims that those legendary vessels are hidden in the Vatican’s catacombs. Rabbi Shtencel from Jerusalem had been investigating the issue for several years, when he met a holocaust survivor who shared how his father, another rabbi, had seen the Temple vessels in the Vatican with his own eyes. Rabbi Shtencel wrote a letter to the Vatican, politely requesting the immediate return of the stolen items. The Vatican responded, stating that since current relations between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church are good, if the Vatican had those items, they would surely return them to their rightful owners. However, Rabbi Shtencel was not satisfied. During the pope’s recent visit to Israel, Shtencel waited at the airport, expecting the pope to arrive with the Menorah, and was sorely disappointed. When asked about the fact that according to Jewish tradition, the vessels are supposed to remain hidden until the Messiah comes, Rabbi Shtencel replied, “Let them first return whatever they stole from the Jewish people, then our rabbis can sit down and figure out what to do.”
Shacharit, June 14, 2022; Hamodia, June 17, 2022; Matzav Haruach, June 17, 2022
Upon discovering that the Ministry of Finance had included “missionary associations” in its budget, namely Covid grants that were given to non profit organizations in Israel in light of the debilitating pandemic, Or L’Achim wrote a letter to Finance Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, requesting that the ministry exclude from its budget those non-profit organizations which “use state funds to destroy it from within.”
Shabaton, June 17, 2022
This was a lengthy interview with an anonymous man who spoke of how he fell in love with a missionary woman, and while he was involved with her, he became a part of her Messianic congregation in Tel Aviv, where he was also baptized. After the relationship was severed, he turned against the congregation, portraying everything they did, from praise and worship to discipleship, in a negative light. The article aimed to point out that since all Messianic believers consider spreading the Gospel an integral part of their faith, and since they are well-funded, they are all a danger to innocent Jewish souls whom they are trying to convert to Christianity.
Makor Rishon, June 18, 2022
Walter Lowdermilk was an ”American Christian, an avid Zionist who believed in the redemption of Israel and its prosperity, and contributed greatly to the nation of Israel from the very beginning.” Lowdermilk was a soil conservationist and expert on the effective use of water resources, who was active in Israel mostly in the 1950s. His widow, Inez, was by his side the whole time, and shares about their adventures together in her recently published autobiography, All In a Lifetime. The article recommended the book, not only for the glimpse it allows readers into a world long past, but also as a refreshing example of a woman’s perspective from the time, which is rare to find among historical books.
Jerusalem Post, June 18, 2022
This was a review on the book Jacob’s Younger Brother: Christian-Jewish Relations after Vatican II by historian Karma Ben-Johanan. In her book, Ben-Johanan explains that although the Catholic Church deplored the “hatred, persecutions and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at any time and by anyone” as well as emphasizing the common heritage of Christians and Jews and calling for interfaith dialogue, mutual understanding and respect in the Second Vatican Council’s declaration, Nostra Aetate (1965), they did not address the fundamental theological implications of Nostra Aetate, namely, replacement theology. Ben-Johanan provides an extraordinarily sophisticated, insightful and provocative examination of how Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews addressed the prospect of reconciliation during the second half of the twentieth century, according to the review. As she “extracts dominant trajectories out of a vast mixture of diverse phenomenon,” Ben-Johanan argues that the secular, liberal post-WWII order that facilitated Christian-Jewish dialogue also pushed the Church to offer the faithful “a sense of belonging and an anchor of identity in this world more than salvation in the next.” Orthodox Jews were empowered to highlight their profound differences with the Church, but also to see secularization “as a joint enemy that united them with their Christian counterparts.” Jacob’s Younger Brother ends with the author’s search for a silver lining. The dynamic of “Christian embrace met by Jewish pushback” does not imply stagnation, according to Ben-Johanan. Each religious community is “updating its tradition and extracting new principles” that are appropriate for its reading of the signs of the times.