Call for new 'trust and respect' with Christians


A group of leading modern Orthodox rabbis have issued a significant declaration on the Jewish approach to Christianity, describing it as a "gift to the nations".

Signed by more than 20 rabbis mainly from the United States and Israel, it calls on Jews and Christians to overcome historic fears in order to establish a "relationship of trust and respect".

It comes on the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking Vatican declaration Nostra Aetate, which changed the course of Jewish-Christian relations by absolving Jews of collective responsibility for the death of Jesus.

While the Progressive rabbinate has often led the way in interfaith relations, the declaration is striking in coming from the Orthodox world.

The "Orthodox rabbinic statement on Christianity" says that after nearly two millennia of hostility, "we recognise the historic opportunity now before us".

It acknowledges that "Christianity is neither an accident nor an error, but the willed divine outcome and gift to the nations. In separating Judaism and Christianity, God willed a separation between partners with significant theological differences, not a separation between enemies."

Stating that Jews and Christians have "more in common than what divides us," they say that the two faiths have a "common covenantal mission to perfect the world under the sovereignty of the Almighty".

Signatories include emeritus Chief Rabbi of France Shmuel Sirat; Rabbi David Rosen, the American Jewish Committee's interfaith director; Chief Rabbi of Efrat Shlomo Riskin; Marc Angel, emeritus rabbi of New York's Sephardi community; and New York yeshivah head Rabbi Asher Lopatin.

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