During the week covered by this review, we received 14 articles on the following subjects:
Christians and the Holocaust
Pope and the Vatican
Christians and the Holocaust
Mizkar, July 20, 2022
Last year, the Dutch memorial television program, ‘Open Jewish Houses,’ presented the story of Peter Santcroos, a Jewish newborn who was rescued by Reverend Jelis-Jan Creutzberg, his wife and daughter, Pien, in the city of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Pien Creutzberg worked as a nurse at a hospital in another city, where she met Elizabeth, Peter’s mother, following his birth. She understood the immediate danger that the mother and the baby were facing, and took Peter, on the train, to her parents’ house. The Reverend and his wife did not hesitate and took Peter under their wings, keeping him safe until the war was over and he was reunited with his parents, who survived the war as well. This year, Nijmegen will join other cities in the Netherlands, as well as in other European countries, and become a part of the Stolpersteine Project, commemorating the victims of the Nazis by installing Stolpersteine (literally, ‘stumbling stones’) – commemorative brass plaques with the names of those victims – in the pavement in front of their last address of choice.
Haaretz, July 27, 2022
Last month, in remembrance of the 80th anniversary of the Vél d’Hiv Roundup in which 12,400 Jews were arrested, brought to a Parisian stadium and sent to Auschwitz to their deaths, a book dedicated to the issue was published, and an exhibition of illustrations documenting the tragedy was opened. In a bitter irony of fate, the illustrator, Jean Cabut, was one of the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack. “We mustn’t forget that for every Jew that was rescued, there were two to three French people who protected him. France is the Western European country that rescued the highest number of Jews,” said historian Laurent Joly, the author of the book. “In Vél d’Hiv, there were policemen who turned their heads when they saw children, youngsters and adults escaping. The arrest shocked the French public and both the Catholic and Protestant churches.”
Yad Vashem Jerusalem, July 26, 2022
One of the collections made public by the Vatican last year may help uncover the fate of Holocaust victims. The collection, entitled ‘L’archivio della Commissione Soccorsi (1939-1958) Inventory,’ contains 800,000 pages with information about Jews who requested help from the Vatican, the war in different countries, humanitarian aid, displaced people and abandoned children, and issues relating to the postwar period. The collection is being digitalized by the Vatican, in cooperation with Yad Vashem, where researchers are excited about its potentially huge contribution.
Rega, July 14, 2022
As mentioned in a previous review, Brazilian Pastor da Hora Lores, who was filmed praying for another Holocaust, was sentenced to 18 years in prison. “Massacre the Jews, God, hit them with your sword, for they have left God, they have left the nations,” da Hora Lores prayed in the recorded sermon. His congregants are heard repeating his words passionately. Ricardo Sidi, the lawyer who represented the Brazilian Jewish community called it, “A historic sentence in the fight against anti-Semitism… the largest penalty applied in Brazil for this type of crime, which will help to inhibit this odious practice.”
LaIsha, July 25, 2022
This was an interview with Lucy Ayoub, an Israeli media personality who grew up Catholic in a mixed family. Her mother, who was born to Jewish Holocaust survivors, converted after falling in love with her father, an Israeli Arab. The family on both sides accepted the union and became “one big happy family” according to Lucy. They send each other traditional dishes and celebrate both Jewish and Christian holidays together. Lucy talked about growing up in a conflicted society that frowns upon such families, and explained how the experiences of her maternal grandmother, who was left in the woods with partisans during the Holocaust, were not very different from those of her paternal grandmother, who was left in a convent during Israel’s War of Independence. Lucy, who does not consider herself religious, expressed exasperation at the constant need “to choose sides” and called for understanding that “the narrative is complicated; it isn’t black and white.”
Following actions taken by Yad L’Achim, a large monument that was put up a few days ago at the national heritage site of Ein Keshatot in the Golan Heights was covered before it is removed entirely. The monument, which is supposed to represent inter-religious fraternity, was erected by Curt Landry Ministries in conjunction with the Golan Regional Council. When Yad L’Achim found out that Curt Landry is an Evangelical Christian preacher, and that he included the Messianic symbol of the fish in his art, with “a quote from Christian sources that means that the Jews will join this unholy religion,” they addressed the Regional Council, along with a list of rabbis and other public figures, asking to have this “idolatry” removed.
Hamizrahi, July 26, 2022
This was an editorial in memory of the late Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, “one of the most impactful and colorful rabbis of our generation… Rav Steinsaltz was brilliantly, deviously funny; he was the antithesis of self-important rabbis who take themselves far too seriously.” The author, a Rabbi himself, recalled his meeting with Rabbi Steinsaltz. “In our discussion regarding interfaith dialogue he said: ‘The Jewish machers forced me to meet with nine Catholic cardinals and give them a shiur [a religious lesson]. The cardinals didn’t want to meet with Reform or Conservative rabbis – only Orthodox!’ After the shiur, Cardinal Frances George of Chicago later told Rabbi Yehiel Poupko that ‘Rabbi Steinsaltz spoke to us for an hour and offended us from beginning to end! But he was right about everything he said.’ … On Jewish-Christian dialogue, Rav Steinsaltz said: ‘We dance together, but we don’t dance the tango. Just the cha-cha!’ ”
Yedioth Ahronoth, July 26, 2022
This article was an opinion piece written in light of Putin’s recent action against the Jewish Agency, by a former head of the Israeli National Security Council, who claimed that “Israel must prioritize its important needs in Russia. The activity of the Jewish Agency isn’t one of them.” According to the article, in 2005, the Israeli government tried to devise a plan to better Israel’s relationship with Russia, without damaging the relationship with the US. The methodology used was to examine Israel’s ten most important interests vs. Russia’s, and vice versa. They concluded that Putin’s main interest was regaining ownership of Sergei’s Courtyard, a seemingly meaningless property in Jerusalem that used to belong to the Russian Church. The article argued that Putin’s status at the time relied on two main power sources – the military and the Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church has always been very supportive of Putin, and took great interest in acquiring the property. The article continued to argue that the Jewish Agency’s activities in Russia are not contributing to the relationship between the two countries, and that the dialogue with the Jewish community in Russia can be maintained through the embassy in Moscow and various government offices, and therefore, Israel must not interfere with Putin’s decision.
Israel Hayom, July 26, 2022; Maariv, July 26, 2022
The diplomatic row between Israel and Russia spread as the Chabad Hasidic movement announced that it would launch unprecedented legal proceedings against Russia, to demand the return of the Schneerson library archives. The Association of Chabad Chassidim in the US has appealed to Israel’s Attorney General to freeze proceedings to transfer ownership of land in Jerusalem to Russia, specifically the Alexander Courtyard church compound in the Old City in Jerusalem, and requested that any land transfer to Russia would be conditioned on the return of the archives, which, according to Chabad, were illegally confiscated by the Russian authorities.
Pope and the Vatican
Maariv, July 31, 2022
Pope Francis said this weekend that his advanced age and difficulty walking would lead to a “new phase” in his ministry, and his resignation is now possible. In a press conference held on the plane on the way back from a visit to Canada, Pope Francis said: “I can’t keep flying at the same rate.”