Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

BBC Nativity says 'no room at shul'

    A leading rabbi has protested to the BBC that a scene in its dramatisation of The Nativity this week was an anti-Jewish libel.

    Rabbi Jonathan Romain of Maidenhead Synagogue, a member of a panel that advises the BBC on religion, took issue with the third of the four-part series which was due to have been broadcast on BBC1 on Wednesday night. It was written by EastEnders scriptwriter Tony Jordan.

    The scene depicts a pregnant Mary, mother of Jesus, trying to escape a Bethlehem crowd which accuses her of adultery. She is refused haven in a synagogue by a tallit-wearing rabbi, although he allows her to flee by a back door.

    Rabbi Romain had not seen the episode, but had been alerted to its contents by two people who had attended preview screenings.

    Many Jews, he said, would be "aghast that amid a story central to the beliefs of millions of Christians, an anti-Judaic aspect has been twisted into the narrative. The Gospels tell us there was no room at the inn, not that a rabbi kicked Mary out of a synagogue".

    He added: "It would be tragic if a 30-minute television programme undoes 30 years of inter-faith dialogue."

    But a BBC spokesman rejected the accusation: "There is absolutely no truth to claims the rabbi is depicted in a negative way," she said.

    "Throughout the first episodes of The Nativity, the rabbi is seen as an integral part of Mary and Joseph's life and the man who performs their betrothal ceremony. When Mary returns from her cousin Elizabeth's, unmarried and pregnant, there is a universally hostile reaction from villagers, including, Joseph and Mary's parents. The rabbi is the only person who shows Mary compassion allowing her to avoid the angry villagers by offering her a route to safety."

    But Rabbi Romain - who was surprised that the religious advisory panel had not been consulted - said that "it was not the details but the overall effect", that mattered.

    "From now on, popular memory will hold that Mary was turned away by the synagogue authorities… which is both untrue to the Gospel story and a major libel that may stick for a long time to come."

Uk News

Livingstone decision shameful, says Tom Watson

Lee Harpin and Marcus Dysch

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Livingstone decision shameful, says Tom Watson
World

Jewish groups angered at Trump HMD message

Daniel Sugarman

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Jewish groups angered at Trump HMD message
Education features

Allegations of anti-Semitism Oxford University Labour Club

Baroness Jan Royall

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Allegations of anti-Semitism Oxford University Labour Club
Uk News

Strictly Orthodox Ukip candidate 'should not run for office'

Marcus Dysch

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Strictly Orthodox Ukip candidate 'should not run for office'
Uk News

UCL publishes investigation into UCLU event

Daniel Sugarman

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

UCL publishes investigation into UCLU event
Uk News

Anti-Israel conference faces delay

Lee Harpin

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Anti-Israel conference faces delay
Uk News

Government drops pledge to aid 3,000 child refugees

Rosa Doherty

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Government drops pledge to aid 3,000 child refugees
Leaders

The JC leader: On Corbyn, and on Arkush

The JC Leader

Friday, January 20, 2017

The JC leader: On Corbyn, and on Arkush
Special Reports

Dublin benefits from overseas aid

Barry Toberman

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dublin benefits from overseas aid