Archive for the ‘Christian’ Category

Israel’s neighbours must help dial down tensions – Jewish News (blog)

Ive started dreading switching on the news after Shabbat. Recent Saturday nights have brought misery to our TV screens, whether this be from the heart of London following the terror attacks near London Bridge or on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

Last Saturday nightattention turned to Israel. The image hauntsme of the blood-soaked apartment where three innocent Jews were murdered in cold blood while enjoying their Friday night dinner.

Events inJerusalem have left locals and viewers around the world angry, fearful and bewildered. The murder of two Israeli policemen on the Temple Mount by a Palestinian terrorist necessarily forced Israel to enact security measures in haste.

The subsequent appalling murder of three members of an Israeli family in the settlement of Halamish should give us all pause for thought about the fragile nature of the security situation in the region.

Israel has allowed freedom of worship for all of Jerusalems residents Christian, Muslim or Jewish since the reunification of the city in 1967.

But the truth is often no match for the twisted and ill-intentioned manipulation of the issue of control of and access to the Temple Mount, on which Islams third holiest site, Al-Aqsa Mosque, stands.

This has been carried out relentlessly by the Arab media, governments and increasingly other Muslim-majority countries often with little respect for the facts on the ground. Directing citizens anger towards Israel is a convenient ruse to deflect attention from their own governments failings.

Indeed, most reports in Arab and Turkish media completely glossed over the murder of the policemen and presented the installation of metal detectors purely as way to restrict the right of Muslims to worship.

Israel has always acted with a spirit of compromise. Since 1967, Jordan has controlled access to the Temple Mount under the auspices of the Waqf, the religious authority.

While Muslims, rightly, can access Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jews themselves have been prevented by Israel from praying at Judaisms holiest site. This is seen as the ultimate sacrifice by many, and a barrier to Jewish freedom of worship by others.

Of course many Orthodox Jewish authorities rule that it is forbidden to go on to Temple Mount at all, as we dont know the exact boundaries of where the Temple, and the Holy of Holies in particular, stood.

Nobody should be under any illusion that manipulating attempts to ensure better security by Israel at this important site endangers not only relations between residents of Jerusalem, but also incites yet further violence against Israelis and Jews the world over.

It is imperative that Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and other key actors in the Muslim world work to dial down the tension and help find a solution that ensures full freedom of worship in Jerusalem while also ensuring the security of those worshippers and people in the surrounding areas.

Israel has removed the metal detectors in an effort to restore calm, and now it is the turn of her neighbours to live up to their responsibilities.

Failure to do so could have catastrophic consequences far beyond the city of Jerusalem.

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Israel’s neighbours must help dial down tensions – Jewish News (blog)

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July 26, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

The war against the Christians – Washington Times

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Persecution of Christians continues in certain parts of the world, mostly in the Middle East and throughout South and Southeast Asia, but it rarely gets much attention even in the Western media. Even many churchmen in the West turn a blind eye.

Pope Francis, who like many Protestant clerics in the West is more concerned about the social issues of the left, has spoken out only occasionally against discrimination, which sometimes includes imprisonment and worse. In April the pope visited as a token of solidarity the leader of Egypts indigenous Christian Coptic Church, whose parish includes 20 million Egyptian Christians. But Protestant churchmen in the West, preoccupied with social issues to the neglect of articles of the faith they espouse, have largely left opposition to oppression to the Western democratic governments, led by the United States.

The persecution statistics are horrific: More than 300 people are murdered monthly throughout the world because of their Christian faith. Two hundred houses of worship are destroyed monthly. Almost 800 incidents of violence are committed monthly. These are truly hate crimes, though rarely prosecuted as that.

The Pew Center, an American secular research organization, estimates more than 75 percent of the worlds population lives in areas of rampant religious persecution, mostly against Christians.

The State Department keeps an accounting of more than 60 countries where religious discrimination is practiced and encouraged. In many of these places, Islam is the dominant and sometimes official religion, and affiliated Muslim organizations persecute religious minorities, sometimes Jews and particularly Christians.

The Middle East, the cradle of the three great religions, has the highest toll of martyrs. On Palm Sunday, preceding Easter by a week, two suicide bombings by Muslim fanatics killed 45 persons and injured many more in two Egyptian Coptic churches. Egypt, with the largest Christian minority in the region, counts the largest number of victims.

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity, an academic research center that monitors worldwide demographic trends, estimates that in the decade ending last year thousands of Christians were killed annually. This does not include statistics from North Korea and large areas of Iraq and Syria.

Persecution of Christians is part of a general pattern of repression in many of these areas, but it takes on a peculiar character because to oppose repression is sometimes inhibited by a lack of understanding of the nature of Islam. Islam is one of the Abrahamic religions and it has borrowed from both Judaism and Christianity. But unlike those two religious faiths, it has not broken its ties to secular power and has endowed those ties with the authority of the state. Indonesia, for example, briefly tried a break with secular power after independence in 1945, but is now beset with radical Islamic groups attempting to establish Islam as state-imposed belief.

This conflict besets most majority-Muslim societies, even though they have borrowed lightly from European legal codes from their colonial past. This conflict will likely intensify if present trends continue.

Indeed, in much of the Islamic world the concept of faith as understood in the West is not something voluntarily held in the human heart, not to be imposed by the state by birth or by law, but a political ideology. Therein lies the fundamental conflict between Judaism and Christianity in the West, and Islam elsewhere. Short of an Islamic reformation, like the reformation that transformed both the Jewish and the Christian faiths, there is probably scant hope for authentic reconciliation.

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The war against the Christians – Washington Times

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

BDS ban: Five Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders denied entry to Israel for supporting Palestinian human rights – Mondoweiss

This press release was sent out by Jewish Voice for Peace today.

Five leaders on an interfaith delegation to Israel/Palestine were refused permission to board their plane in the United States, in what appears to be an implementation of Israels travel ban on supporters of Palestinian rights and Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS).

Rabbi Alissa Wise: We were told at check-in that the airline has a letter from the Israeli government saying we are not allowed to fly to Israel. I wasnt even able to get as far as checking my bag.

WASHINGTON DC (July 24, 2017) Five members of an interfaith delegation were prevented from boarding their flight to Israel because of their public criticism of the Israeli governments policies towards Palestinians. The group of Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders were apparentlysingled outfor their public support of the Palestinian call forBoycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)on the state of Israel. Upon arrival at the Lufthansa check-in counter at Dulles International Airport, an airline employee informed the group that the Israeli government had told the airline not to let them board.

The five people prohibited from flying are Rabbi Alissa Wise, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) deputy director, Philadelphia, PA; Alana Krivo-Kaufman, Brooklyn, NY and Noah Habeeb, Virginia, both also of JVP; Rick Ufford Chase, of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Rockland County, NY; and Shakeel Syed, a national board member with American Muslims for Palestine, Los Angeles, CA.

Israel denied me the ability to travel there because of my work for justice for Palestinians, even though Im Jewish and a rabbi,saidRabbi Alissa Wise. Im heartbroken and outraged. This is yet another demonstration that democracy and tolerance in Israel only extends to those who fall in line with its increasingly repressive policies against Palestinians.

The Israeli Knesset (parliament) passed abillin March banning entry to those who support boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel until Palestinians have full equal rights. Israels BDS ban includes those who have endorsed boycotts of products from Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law and longstanding official U.S. policy. It is believed that this is the first time that the policy has been enforced before people even board their flight. It is also the first time that Israel has denied entry to Jews, including a rabbi, for their political positions. This new political litmus test for entry into the country is an extension of thelongstanding practicesof racial, religious and ethnic profiling of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim visitors to Israel.

As a person of faith, Israels denial of my right to visit the Holy Land doesnt dampen, but rather, emboldens my pursuit of justice and peace for Palestinians and long overdue freedom for Palestine,saidShakeel Syed, a human rights activist & national Board Member, American Muslims for Palestine.Despite that I had my boarding pass to Tel Aviv in hand, the Lufthansa representative informed me that they had a direct order from Israeli immigration authorities to not allow us to board the plane. Furthermore, they refused to even show us the Israeli order.

The BDS travel ban is part of a broader crackdown on support for these nonviolent tactics to hold Israel accountable to international law. The United States Congress is currently considering the draconianIsrael Anti-Boycott Billthat would penalize people and companies that boycott business with Israel or Israeli settlements with penalties of up to 20 years in jail and $1 million in fines.

At a time of heightened violence in the region, when Palestinians are praying outside the Al-Aqsa compound and on the streets, protesting Israeli restrictions on worship there, a small group of faith leaders and activists have been barred from even witnessing and lending an interfaith voice for peace. Israels ban refuses the interfaith leaders entry to Israel and the Occupied Palestinians Territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem, under Israeli control.

I am part of a Jewish, Muslim and Christian delegation of committed, nonviolent peacemakers whose plan is to meet with those in both Israel and Palestine who are working every day for a Just Peace in the Holy Lands,Rick Ufford-Chase, Moderator of the 216th General Assembly, PC(USA) and member of the Activist Council of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.At this time when tension and violence are rising once again, the work we are doing to build trust and work for a viable peace is more important than ever, and I stand ready to go the moment the State of Israel gives us permission to fly.

The other 18 participants on the Interfaith Network for Justice in Palestine (INJIP)* delegation arrived in Israel this morning, and were allowed to enter after several hours of detention and questioning that particularly focused on Muslim members of the delegation. The delegation plans to meet with dozens of faith-based organizations, grassroots activists and human rights groups in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Now the remaining delegates will continue this work, without five of their members, with the intention to learn, witness and co-resist Israeli occupation, displacement and siege with Palestinian and Israeli partners on the ground.

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BDS ban: Five Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders denied entry to Israel for supporting Palestinian human rights – Mondoweiss

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Opinion: Jews everywhere should be helping Egypt’s Christians … – The Jewish Standard

During Israels Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014, I had dinner with a Christian pastor and his family in North Carolina. I was stunned and impressed that each time a rocket was launched from Gaza into Israel, the familys Code Red app blared on their cellphones and they stopped whatever they were doing to pray for Israelis in danger.

And they didnt just pray. Their sincere concern for the wellbeing of Israel manifested itself in action. They donated tens of thousands of dollars to build bomb shelters all across Israel to help protect us. It is our honor to use our money to provide protection to Israelis from terrorist rocket fire. Buying a new car, renovating my kitchen or doing anything else for myself wouldnt give me nearly as much joy and fulfillment, the pastor told me.

I left his house feeling awed and inspired. I hope that my people would help Christians in their time of need, as they have done for us, I thought.

Truth be told, on the whole, we as a people have done an excellent job in raising awareness among our children and our communities about the importance of tikkun olam (repairing the world), of reaching out and supporting worthy causes beyond those that directly affect Jews. At almost every rally and peaceful protest, you can see an Israeli flag, the Star of David or another identifier of Jewish presence. We are helping Syrian refugees, standing up for womens rights and volunteering in the worlds poorest countries, just to name a few causes we champion. Helping others who suffer from persecution, injustice or discrimination is a hallmark of the Jewish community, and I am proud of that.

But at the same time, there are cries that have gone unheard, such as those of the Christians being systematically persecutedand slaughteredacross the Middle East. Coptic Christians, an indigenous population of Egypt dating back to the 1st century A.D., hundreds of years before Muslims even came on the scene, have been especially targeted. They represent almost 10 percent of Egypts population and are being persecuted by Islamic terrorists.

At least 28 Coptic Christians, including many children, were ambushed and murdered May 26 as they traveled by bus to a monastery. Two terror attacks hit crowded Coptic churches April 10, killing at least 44 people. Since January 2017, more than 100 Copts have been targeted, murdered and systematically threatened.

In response to this horrific campaign of terror, I am astounded that the Jewish community has remained virtually silent.

The Jewish community and Israel currently enjoy unprecedented, historic support from the Christian community. Christians are our loudest defenders in the political arena, our most vocal supporters on social media and our greatest contributors when it comes to charitable causes. The annual budget of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) is $150 million, which is distributed to 1.4 million Jews in need in Israel and around the world. These funds are sacrificially donated by hundreds of thousands of Christian donors in the U.S. and worldwide. Moreover, Christians make up more than half of the tourists who come to Israel annually, significantly bolstering the the Jewish states economy and morale.

If we can stand up for the sake of other peoples who suffer and for different just causes, how can we not act on behalf of our greatest allies? With all of the issues we are taking on, how is this not at the forefront of our agenda?

For the last few years, Egypts Coptic Christians have been the target of a calculated, cruel terror campaign. Men, women and children (and sometimes intentionally women and children) have been murdered in cold blood. Their places of worship and holy books have been blown up and burned. Their homes and shops have been attacked and looted. Sound familiar? We know all too well this pattern in history and we have vowed never to let it happen again.

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Opinion: Jews everywhere should be helping Egypt’s Christians … – The Jewish Standard

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July 24, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

ISIS Destroyed Jonah’s Tomb, but Not Its Message – The Atlantic

As we saw the first images of Jonahs Tomb destroyed in Mosul on July 24, 2014, we felt shocked and deeply uneasy. We had been following news from Iraq obsessively over the previous weeks, distressed by the Islamic States actions in a country we still thought of as home, even though all three of us now live in North America. Every bit of ISIS destruction had been terrible to witness, but somehow the image of this ruined tomb was uniquely jarring. Three years later, with Mosul liberated, we understand why.

The tomb, one of Iraqs iconic monuments, was revered by Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. It was believed to be the final resting place of the biblical prophet Jonah, who got swallowed by a whale and who warned inhabitants of the Assyrian city of Nineveh (now Mosul) that God would destroy them if they did not repent for their sins. Jonahs story appears in the Bible as well as the Koran. His tomb is perched on a high mound containing many layers of history: an ancient Assyrian temple and palace, a site of devotion for Jews, a Christian church, and a 12th century mosque. In 1924, a grand minaret was added by a Turkish architect who described the glow of the site as Gods gift to Mosul. Renovated in the 1990s under Saddam Hussein, it was a popular draw for pilgrims.

Who Gets to Own Iraqs Religious Heritage?

But the tomb was much more than a tourist destination; it was a constant, potent symbol. Overlooking the city, it reminded all Maslawis of the interconnectedness of Iraqs diverse religious populations. It was the antithesis of sectarianism. As such, ISISs decision to blow it up read as an attempt to erase the shared history of the many religious populations that Mosul housed, and to erase the very notion that such populations can share anything at all. But now that Mosul has been liberated from ISIS, wethree Iraqis from different religious backgroundshope all our communities will have a hand in rebuilding the city and its holy sites.

Sara, of Armenian and Arab descent, was born and raised in Mosul. As a child, she was enchanted by the Nabi Yunus mosque, as the site is locally known. Its yellowish stones reflected sunlight as she and her brother chased each other up and down its seemingly endless stairs, climbed onto its zigguratesque terraces, and zigzagged through its palm trees. She grew up hearing that the site houses the tooth of the whale that swallowed Jonah. She was also keenly aware that Mosuls Yazidi community identified with the area as well, particularly because an ancient shrine is located near Nabi Yunus.

Atoor grew up as part of the indigenous Assyrian Christian community in Iraq. She yearns for many quintessential elements of her childhood skyline, but none is more painfully absent now than Jonahs Tomb. The Eastern churches commemorate the repentance of the biblical Ninevites with a three-day fast each year, an important tradition for the Assyrian community. Beyond this religious connection to Jonah, and beyond simple nostalgia, what makes the loss of the tomb painful is a principle that was inculcated in her: Assimilating prior cultural traditions and sources of knowledge has always been a source of strength for Near Eastern civilizations, from antiquity to the modern period. The destruction of Jonahs Tomb signals that this source of strength is under threat.

Sigal was raised in a family of Iraqi Jews, but has never been able to visit Iraq. Desperate to escape the persecution that followed the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, her grandfather fled Iraq, along with almost the entire Jewish population. Despite never having seen Jonahs Tomb, she felt it was a constitutive part of her history and personal identity. She grew up hearing the Book of Jonah read in synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. The tomb was a visible reminder that Jews had flourished in Iraq for centuries: Mosul was once home to many synagogues, although they are now reportedly used as garbage dumps, and to trailblazing luminaries like 17th-century yeshiva director Asnat Barzani, although she is now mostly forgotten.

Jonahs Tomb is only one example of Iraqs interfaith cooperation. In the city of Al Qosh, an ancient synagogues crumbling walls still bear visible Hebrew inscriptions. Inside is the tomb of Nahum, another Hebrew prophet who predicted the fall of Nineveh. It has been guarded by the same family of Assyrian Christians for generations. When the last Jewish people in Al Qosh left, they asked my grandfather to watch over the tomb, to keep it safe, the caretaker explained in 2015. Nahum is not our prophet, but he is a prophet, so we must respect that.

Stories like these prompt us to ask: Where would Iraqs Jews, Christians, and Muslims be without their connection to each other and to their ancient past through sites like the tombs of Jonah and Nahum? What does the story of Iraq amount to without the shared history of its Jews, Christians, and Muslims? And will these questions guide any future efforts to rebuild the tombs?

Earlier this year, archeologists documenting the destruction at Jonahs Tomb discovered a 2,600-year-old Assyrian palace, which had never before been excavated. After blowing up the mosque, ISIS had dug tunnels deep underneath, likely plundering many artifacts for sale on the black market. They left behind marble cuneiform inscriptions, stone sculptures of a demi-goddess, and carved reliefs. The British Institute for the Study of Iraq and various international teams rushed forward with bids to help professionals on the ground secure the site and study the remaining treasures. At a UNESCO meeting in Paris, foreign experts and Iraqi officials agreed to work together on the restoration.

Amid this flurry of activity, it may be easy to forget that the rebuilding of Jonahs Tomb is not only a matter of concern for local residents and experts of the Near East, but also for Christians, Muslims, and Jews with a connection to Iraq. These various religious groups, along with Yazidis, have a stake in what happens to the site, and any just decision-making process will include representatives from each.

Today, three years after seeing the image of Jonahs Tomb destroyed, we recall these words from his story in the KoranIf only there had been a city that believed and profited by its belief as did the people of Jonah!and are hopeful that all people working to rebuild Mosul can muster the strength to believe in the power of its connected cultures and shared history.

Originally posted here:
ISIS Destroyed Jonah’s Tomb, but Not Its Message – The Atlantic

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July 24, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Why Jews Everywhere Should Be Helping Egypt’s Christians … – Algemeiner

And they didnt just pray. Their sincere concern for the well-being of Israel manifested itself in action. They donated tens of thousands of dollars to build bomb shelters all across Israel. It is our honor to use our money to provide protection to Israelis from terrorist rocket fire. Buying a new car, renovating my kitchen or doing anything else for myself wouldnt give me nearly as much joy and fulfillment, the pastor told me.

I left his house feeling awed and inspired. I hope that my people would help Christians in their time of need, as they have done for us, I thought.

July 26, 2017 10:41 am

Truth be told, on the whole, we as a people have done an excellent job in raising awareness among our children and our communities about the importance of tikkun olam (repairing the world)of reaching out and supporting worthy causes beyond those that directly affect Jews. At almost every rally and peaceful protest, you can see an Israeli flag, the Star of David or another identifier of Jewish presence. We are helping Syrian refugees, standing up for womens rights and volunteering in the worlds poorest countriesjust to name a few causes we champion. Helping others who suffer from persecution, injustice or discrimination is a hallmark of the Jewish community, and I am proud of that.

But at the same time, there are cries that have gone unheard, such as those of the Christians being systematically persecutedand slaughteredacross the Middle East. Coptic Christians, an indigenous population inEgypt dating back to the 1st century AD, have been especially targeted. They represent almost 10 percent of Egypts population, and are being persecuted by Islamic terrorists.

At least 28 Coptic Christians, including many children, were ambushed and murdered on May 26 as they traveled by bus to a monastery. In April, two terror attacks hit crowded Coptic churches killing at least 44 people. Since January 2017, hundreds ofCopts have been targeted, murdered and systematically threatened.

In response to this horrific campaign of terror, I am astounded that the Jewish community has remained virtually silent.

The Jewish community and Israel currently enjoy unprecedented, historic support from the Christian community. Christians are our loudest defenders in the political arena, our most vocal supporters on social media and our greatest contributors when it comes to charitable causes. The annual budget of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (the Fellowship) is $150 million, which is distributed to 1.4 million Jews in need in Israel and around the world. These funds are sacrificially donated by hundreds of thousands of Christian donors in the US and worldwide. Moreover, Christians make up more than half of the tourists who come to Israel annually, significantly bolstering the Jewish states economy and morale.

If we can stand up for the sake of other peoples who suffer, how can we not act on behalf of our greatest allies? With all of the issues that we are taking on, how is this not at the forefront of our agenda?

For the last few years, Egypts Coptic Christians have been the target of a calculated, cruel terror campaign. Men, women and children (sometimes intentionally women and children) have been murdered in cold blood. Their places of worship and holy books have been blown up and burned. Their homes and shops have been attacked and looted. Sound familiar? We know all too well this pattern in history, and we have vowed never to let it happen again.

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Why Jews Everywhere Should Be Helping Egypt’s Christians … – Algemeiner

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July 23, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Jewish mother, Christian father and Muslim daughters under one roof in Egypt – StepFeed

The Muslim-majority country’s once-vibrant Jewish community has shrunk to a handful of people.

While there is no officialcount of the number of Jews living in Egypt today,it was reported to stand at 13 Jews in 2014, according to Egypt Independent.

In July 2016, Haroun mentioned that there are only six Jewish women in the country.

In the mid-1940s, Egypt’s Jewish community peaked at over 80,000 people, according to Time magazine. Since then, after the establishment of Israel, and former Egyptian presidentGamal Abdel Nasser’smass expulsion of Egyptian Jews, a majority of the latter fled toEurope, Israel, and the United States.

Haroun’s family was among those who chose to stay in the country. Haroun attended university in Cairo and eventually took on the family business, an intellectual property firm.

“I’m sick of it,” Haroun said about the diminishing community.

“Sometimes I wake up in the morning and Im crying because I dont know what will happen.

Its very hard to explain. Its very heavy. Its very sad. Its very frightening.”

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Jewish mother, Christian father and Muslim daughters under one roof in Egypt – StepFeed

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July 21, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Why Jews everywhere should be helping Egypt’s Christians – JNS.org

By Yael Eckstein/JNS.org

During Israels Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014, I had dinner with a Christian pastor and his family in North Carolina. I was stunned and impressed that each time a rocket was launched from Gaza into Israel, the familys Code Red app blared on their cellphones and they stopped whatever they were doing to pray for Israelis in danger.

And they didnt just pray. Their sincere concern for the wellbeing of Israel manifested itself in action. They donated tens of thousands of dollars to build bomb shelters all across Israel to help protect us. It is our honor to use our money to provide protection to Israelis from terrorist rocket fire. Buying a new car, renovating my kitchen or doing anything else for myself wouldnt give me nearly as much joy and fulfillment, the pastor told me.

I left his house feeling awed and inspired. I hope that my people would help Christians in their time of need, as they have done for us, I thought.

Truth be told, on the whole, we as a people have done an excellent job in raising awareness among our children and our communities about the importance of tikkun olam (repairing the world), of reaching out and supporting worthy causes beyond those that directly affect Jews. At almost every rally and peaceful protest, you can see an Israeli flag, the Star of David or another identifier of Jewish presence. We are helping Syrian refugees, standing up for womens rights and volunteering in the worlds poorest countries, just to name a few causes we champion. Helping others who suffer from persecution, injustice or discrimination is a hallmark of the Jewish community, and I am proud of that.

But at the same time, there are cries that have gone unheard, such as those of the Christians being systematically persecutedand slaughteredacross the Middle East. Coptic Christians, an indigenous population of Egypt dating back to the 1st century A.D., hundreds of years before Muslims even came on the scene, have been especially targeted. They represent almost 10 percent of Egypts population and are being persecuted by Islamic terrorists.

At least 28 Coptic Christians, including many children, were ambushed and murdered May 26 as they traveled by bus to a monastery. Two terror attacks hit crowded Coptic churches April 10, killing at least 44 people. Since January 2017, more than 100 Copts have been targeted, murdered and systematically threatened.

In response to this horrific campaign of terror, I am astounded that the Jewish community has remained virtually silent.

The Jewish community and Israel currently enjoy unprecedented, historic support from the Christian community. Christians are our loudest defenders in the political arena, our most vocal supporters on social media and our greatest contributors when it comes to charitable causes. The annual budget of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) is $150 million, which is distributed to 1.4 million Jews in need in Israel and around the world. These funds are sacrificially donated by hundreds of thousands of Christian donors in the U.S. and worldwide. Moreover, Christians make up more than half of the tourists who come to Israel annually, significantly bolstering the the Jewish states economy and morale.

If we can stand up for the sake of other peoples who suffer and for different just causes, how can we not act on behalf of our greatest allies? With all of the issues we are taking on, how is this not at the forefront of our agenda?

For the last few years, Egypts Coptic Christians have been the target of a calculated, cruel terror campaign. Men, women and children (and sometimes intentionally women and children) have been murdered in cold blood. Their places of worship and holy books have been blown up and burned. Their homes and shops have been attacked and looted. Sound familiar? We know all too well this pattern in history and we have vowed never to let it happen again.

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Why Jews everywhere should be helping Egypt’s Christians – JNS.org

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July 20, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Christianity was founded by an observant Jew – Catholic Star Herald

Pope John Paul II greets Rabbi Elio Toaff at Romes main synagogue April 13, 1986. The meeting marked the beginning of a new era in Catholic-Jewish relations. It was the first time a pope had entered the Rome synagogue. CNS photo/Arturo Mari, LOsservatore Romano

I imagine we older Catholics could be forgiven if we presumed Jesus was a Catholic like us. After all, he started us off by giving Peter a new identity as Rock, or Cephas in Aramaic, when he said, You are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church. (Mt 16: 18). The fact is, he was a good observant Jew, practiced in reading the Hebrew Scriptures and attending shabat synagogue. Nazareths was where he preached such a fiery sermon early in his career that his own neighbors were infuriated enough to seize him and take him to the brow of a hill to throw him to his death. Today, bishops assign newly ordained priests away from their home parishes, especially if they have the courage to preach social justice homilies.

Mary and Joseph had taught him well, aware that parents are the first and best teachers in the ways of the faith who dont wait for later educators. Their Jewish loyalty saw to his being initiated into Judaism eight days after birth. It continued well past his visit to the Jerusalem temple at 12, when he discussed the Law with the amazed rabbis there, doing his Fathers business, even if his mother scolded him for getting lost for three days.

At one point his disciples, or students, asked him how to pray. The Lords Prayer was his answer, and it reveals his Jewishness on a couple of counts. Take the familiar Jewish dependence on God as provider of everything: Give me neither poverty nor riches. Provide me only with the food I need, lest being full, I deny you saying, Who is the Lord? Or being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God (Prv 30f).

Jesus called on his Jewish disciples familiarity with Sirachs Forgive your neighbors injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven (28: 2). Sirach and he made their own forgiveness of others to be the kind they could expect of the all-merciful God, who is not impressed with mere words when the deeds are absent. With the terrible burning of the Temple and Jerusalem with it by the Romans in July of 70 A.D. and the flight of the people from the city, the canon or official list of Old Testament books excluded Sirach because it originated outside Israel, in Egypt. Thus Jews and therefore Protestants do not consider Sirach, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Baruch and 1 and 2 Maccabees to be canonical, but they revere these as noteworthy. This makes the Catholic Bible seven books longer than those of our Jewish and Protestant friends. We formed our canon at the 1545-63 Council of Trent.

All of which should cause us Catholics and other Christians to respect our Jewish ancestors in the faith. As Pope John said, We all are spiritual Semites, he who did so much to rescue thousands of Jews from the Holocaust while serving in Turkey. We need reminders like this. As Swiss theologian Hans Kung said, anti-Semitism is the churchs longest-standing sin. By the end of the first century, the tail was wagging the dog. Gentile converts to Christianity were multiplying despite the emperors persecutions while Jewish membership fell off. Someone got the idea that it would be good religion to harass both Jewish Christians and Jewish non-Christians. How God was supposed to be pleased with this attack on Gods Chosen People, a designation never retracted, still mystifies.

The Holocaust it means wholly burnt sacrificial offering did not just start in 20th century Nazism. Economic explanations have been offered. A people uninterested in evangelizing because blood lines established membership, thus uninterested in getting new Gentile members, pulled together and made themselves stronger against the pogroms, becoming a formidable force in banking, the only field some countries left to them because money handling was considered beneath Christian dignity. Yet Christians did not hesitate to borrow from Jewish bankers.

In Venice, Jews were consigned to an island of their own after centuries of living well with Christians there. The Yiddish word for divorce then was ghet, Italianized to ghetto. Jews were divorced from mainstream society, required to live in Jewish compounds. Into the 20th century the city of Romes law forbade the entrance of a synagogue being placed on a main street. A 20th century pope was the first successor of Jewish Peter to visit a synagogue.

Hard to imagine Jewish Jesus approving much of this.

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Christianity was founded by an observant Jew – Catholic Star Herald

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July 20, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Israel’s neighbours must help dial down tensions – Jewish News (blog)

Ive started dreading switching on the news after Shabbat. Recent Saturday nights have brought misery to our TV screens, whether this be from the heart of London following the terror attacks near London Bridge or on the Champs Elysees in Paris. Last Saturday nightattention turned to Israel. The image hauntsme of the blood-soaked apartment where three innocent Jews were murdered in cold blood while enjoying their Friday night dinner. Events inJerusalem have left locals and viewers around the world angry, fearful and bewildered. The murder of two Israeli policemen on the Temple Mount by a Palestinian terrorist necessarily forced Israel to enact security measures in haste. The subsequent appalling murder of three members of an Israeli family in the settlement of Halamish should give us all pause for thought about the fragile nature of the security situation in the region. Israel has allowed freedom of worship for all of Jerusalems residents Christian, Muslim or Jewish since the reunification of the city in 1967. But the truth is often no match for the twisted and ill-intentioned manipulation of the issue of control of and access to the Temple Mount, on which Islams third holiest site, Al-Aqsa Mosque, stands. This has been carried out relentlessly by the Arab media, governments and increasingly other Muslim-majority countries often with little respect for the facts on the ground. Directing citizens anger towards Israel is a convenient ruse to deflect attention from their own governments failings. Indeed, most reports in Arab and Turkish media completely glossed over the murder of the policemen and presented the installation of metal detectors purely as way to restrict the right of Muslims to worship. Israel has always acted with a spirit of compromise. Since 1967, Jordan has controlled access to the Temple Mount under the auspices of the Waqf, the religious authority. While Muslims, rightly, can access Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jews themselves have been prevented by Israel from praying at Judaisms holiest site. This is seen as the ultimate sacrifice by many, and a barrier to Jewish freedom of worship by others. Of course many Orthodox Jewish authorities rule that it is forbidden to go on to Temple Mount at all, as we dont know the exact boundaries of where the Temple, and the Holy of Holies in particular, stood. Nobody should be under any illusion that manipulating attempts to ensure better security by Israel at this important site endangers not only relations between residents of Jerusalem, but also incites yet further violence against Israelis and Jews the world over. It is imperative that Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and other key actors in the Muslim world work to dial down the tension and help find a solution that ensures full freedom of worship in Jerusalem while also ensuring the security of those worshippers and people in the surrounding areas. Israel has removed the metal detectors in an effort to restore calm, and now it is the turn of her neighbours to live up to their responsibilities. Failure to do so could have catastrophic consequences far beyond the city of Jerusalem.

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July 26, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

The war against the Christians – Washington Times

ANALYSIS/OPINION: Persecution of Christians continues in certain parts of the world, mostly in the Middle East and throughout South and Southeast Asia, but it rarely gets much attention even in the Western media. Even many churchmen in the West turn a blind eye. Pope Francis, who like many Protestant clerics in the West is more concerned about the social issues of the left, has spoken out only occasionally against discrimination, which sometimes includes imprisonment and worse. In April the pope visited as a token of solidarity the leader of Egypts indigenous Christian Coptic Church, whose parish includes 20 million Egyptian Christians. But Protestant churchmen in the West, preoccupied with social issues to the neglect of articles of the faith they espouse, have largely left opposition to oppression to the Western democratic governments, led by the United States. The persecution statistics are horrific: More than 300 people are murdered monthly throughout the world because of their Christian faith. Two hundred houses of worship are destroyed monthly. Almost 800 incidents of violence are committed monthly. These are truly hate crimes, though rarely prosecuted as that. The Pew Center, an American secular research organization, estimates more than 75 percent of the worlds population lives in areas of rampant religious persecution, mostly against Christians. The State Department keeps an accounting of more than 60 countries where religious discrimination is practiced and encouraged. In many of these places, Islam is the dominant and sometimes official religion, and affiliated Muslim organizations persecute religious minorities, sometimes Jews and particularly Christians. The Middle East, the cradle of the three great religions, has the highest toll of martyrs. On Palm Sunday, preceding Easter by a week, two suicide bombings by Muslim fanatics killed 45 persons and injured many more in two Egyptian Coptic churches. Egypt, with the largest Christian minority in the region, counts the largest number of victims. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity, an academic research center that monitors worldwide demographic trends, estimates that in the decade ending last year thousands of Christians were killed annually. This does not include statistics from North Korea and large areas of Iraq and Syria. Persecution of Christians is part of a general pattern of repression in many of these areas, but it takes on a peculiar character because to oppose repression is sometimes inhibited by a lack of understanding of the nature of Islam. Islam is one of the Abrahamic religions and it has borrowed from both Judaism and Christianity. But unlike those two religious faiths, it has not broken its ties to secular power and has endowed those ties with the authority of the state. Indonesia, for example, briefly tried a break with secular power after independence in 1945, but is now beset with radical Islamic groups attempting to establish Islam as state-imposed belief. This conflict besets most majority-Muslim societies, even though they have borrowed lightly from European legal codes from their colonial past. This conflict will likely intensify if present trends continue. Indeed, in much of the Islamic world the concept of faith as understood in the West is not something voluntarily held in the human heart, not to be imposed by the state by birth or by law, but a political ideology. Therein lies the fundamental conflict between Judaism and Christianity in the West, and Islam elsewhere. Short of an Islamic reformation, like the reformation that transformed both the Jewish and the Christian faiths, there is probably scant hope for authentic reconciliation.

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

BDS ban: Five Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders denied entry to Israel for supporting Palestinian human rights – Mondoweiss

This press release was sent out by Jewish Voice for Peace today. Five leaders on an interfaith delegation to Israel/Palestine were refused permission to board their plane in the United States, in what appears to be an implementation of Israels travel ban on supporters of Palestinian rights and Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS). Rabbi Alissa Wise: We were told at check-in that the airline has a letter from the Israeli government saying we are not allowed to fly to Israel. I wasnt even able to get as far as checking my bag. WASHINGTON DC (July 24, 2017) Five members of an interfaith delegation were prevented from boarding their flight to Israel because of their public criticism of the Israeli governments policies towards Palestinians. The group of Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders were apparentlysingled outfor their public support of the Palestinian call forBoycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)on the state of Israel. Upon arrival at the Lufthansa check-in counter at Dulles International Airport, an airline employee informed the group that the Israeli government had told the airline not to let them board. The five people prohibited from flying are Rabbi Alissa Wise, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) deputy director, Philadelphia, PA; Alana Krivo-Kaufman, Brooklyn, NY and Noah Habeeb, Virginia, both also of JVP; Rick Ufford Chase, of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Rockland County, NY; and Shakeel Syed, a national board member with American Muslims for Palestine, Los Angeles, CA. Israel denied me the ability to travel there because of my work for justice for Palestinians, even though Im Jewish and a rabbi,saidRabbi Alissa Wise. Im heartbroken and outraged. This is yet another demonstration that democracy and tolerance in Israel only extends to those who fall in line with its increasingly repressive policies against Palestinians. The Israeli Knesset (parliament) passed abillin March banning entry to those who support boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel until Palestinians have full equal rights. Israels BDS ban includes those who have endorsed boycotts of products from Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law and longstanding official U.S. policy. It is believed that this is the first time that the policy has been enforced before people even board their flight. It is also the first time that Israel has denied entry to Jews, including a rabbi, for their political positions. This new political litmus test for entry into the country is an extension of thelongstanding practicesof racial, religious and ethnic profiling of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim visitors to Israel. As a person of faith, Israels denial of my right to visit the Holy Land doesnt dampen, but rather, emboldens my pursuit of justice and peace for Palestinians and long overdue freedom for Palestine,saidShakeel Syed, a human rights activist & national Board Member, American Muslims for Palestine.Despite that I had my boarding pass to Tel Aviv in hand, the Lufthansa representative informed me that they had a direct order from Israeli immigration authorities to not allow us to board the plane. Furthermore, they refused to even show us the Israeli order. The BDS travel ban is part of a broader crackdown on support for these nonviolent tactics to hold Israel accountable to international law. The United States Congress is currently considering the draconianIsrael Anti-Boycott Billthat would penalize people and companies that boycott business with Israel or Israeli settlements with penalties of up to 20 years in jail and $1 million in fines. At a time of heightened violence in the region, when Palestinians are praying outside the Al-Aqsa compound and on the streets, protesting Israeli restrictions on worship there, a small group of faith leaders and activists have been barred from even witnessing and lending an interfaith voice for peace. Israels ban refuses the interfaith leaders entry to Israel and the Occupied Palestinians Territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem, under Israeli control. I am part of a Jewish, Muslim and Christian delegation of committed, nonviolent peacemakers whose plan is to meet with those in both Israel and Palestine who are working every day for a Just Peace in the Holy Lands,Rick Ufford-Chase, Moderator of the 216th General Assembly, PC(USA) and member of the Activist Council of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.At this time when tension and violence are rising once again, the work we are doing to build trust and work for a viable peace is more important than ever, and I stand ready to go the moment the State of Israel gives us permission to fly. The other 18 participants on the Interfaith Network for Justice in Palestine (INJIP)* delegation arrived in Israel this morning, and were allowed to enter after several hours of detention and questioning that particularly focused on Muslim members of the delegation. The delegation plans to meet with dozens of faith-based organizations, grassroots activists and human rights groups in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Now the remaining delegates will continue this work, without five of their members, with the intention to learn, witness and co-resist Israeli occupation, displacement and siege with Palestinian and Israeli partners on the ground.

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Opinion: Jews everywhere should be helping Egypt’s Christians … – The Jewish Standard

During Israels Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014, I had dinner with a Christian pastor and his family in North Carolina. I was stunned and impressed that each time a rocket was launched from Gaza into Israel, the familys Code Red app blared on their cellphones and they stopped whatever they were doing to pray for Israelis in danger. And they didnt just pray. Their sincere concern for the wellbeing of Israel manifested itself in action. They donated tens of thousands of dollars to build bomb shelters all across Israel to help protect us. It is our honor to use our money to provide protection to Israelis from terrorist rocket fire. Buying a new car, renovating my kitchen or doing anything else for myself wouldnt give me nearly as much joy and fulfillment, the pastor told me. I left his house feeling awed and inspired. I hope that my people would help Christians in their time of need, as they have done for us, I thought. Truth be told, on the whole, we as a people have done an excellent job in raising awareness among our children and our communities about the importance of tikkun olam (repairing the world), of reaching out and supporting worthy causes beyond those that directly affect Jews. At almost every rally and peaceful protest, you can see an Israeli flag, the Star of David or another identifier of Jewish presence. We are helping Syrian refugees, standing up for womens rights and volunteering in the worlds poorest countries, just to name a few causes we champion. Helping others who suffer from persecution, injustice or discrimination is a hallmark of the Jewish community, and I am proud of that. But at the same time, there are cries that have gone unheard, such as those of the Christians being systematically persecutedand slaughteredacross the Middle East. Coptic Christians, an indigenous population of Egypt dating back to the 1st century A.D., hundreds of years before Muslims even came on the scene, have been especially targeted. They represent almost 10 percent of Egypts population and are being persecuted by Islamic terrorists. At least 28 Coptic Christians, including many children, were ambushed and murdered May 26 as they traveled by bus to a monastery. Two terror attacks hit crowded Coptic churches April 10, killing at least 44 people. Since January 2017, more than 100 Copts have been targeted, murdered and systematically threatened. In response to this horrific campaign of terror, I am astounded that the Jewish community has remained virtually silent. The Jewish community and Israel currently enjoy unprecedented, historic support from the Christian community. Christians are our loudest defenders in the political arena, our most vocal supporters on social media and our greatest contributors when it comes to charitable causes. The annual budget of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) is $150 million, which is distributed to 1.4 million Jews in need in Israel and around the world. These funds are sacrificially donated by hundreds of thousands of Christian donors in the U.S. and worldwide. Moreover, Christians make up more than half of the tourists who come to Israel annually, significantly bolstering the the Jewish states economy and morale. If we can stand up for the sake of other peoples who suffer and for different just causes, how can we not act on behalf of our greatest allies? With all of the issues we are taking on, how is this not at the forefront of our agenda? For the last few years, Egypts Coptic Christians have been the target of a calculated, cruel terror campaign. Men, women and children (and sometimes intentionally women and children) have been murdered in cold blood. Their places of worship and holy books have been blown up and burned. Their homes and shops have been attacked and looted. Sound familiar? We know all too well this pattern in history and we have vowed never to let it happen again.

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July 24, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

ISIS Destroyed Jonah’s Tomb, but Not Its Message – The Atlantic

As we saw the first images of Jonahs Tomb destroyed in Mosul on July 24, 2014, we felt shocked and deeply uneasy. We had been following news from Iraq obsessively over the previous weeks, distressed by the Islamic States actions in a country we still thought of as home, even though all three of us now live in North America. Every bit of ISIS destruction had been terrible to witness, but somehow the image of this ruined tomb was uniquely jarring. Three years later, with Mosul liberated, we understand why. The tomb, one of Iraqs iconic monuments, was revered by Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. It was believed to be the final resting place of the biblical prophet Jonah, who got swallowed by a whale and who warned inhabitants of the Assyrian city of Nineveh (now Mosul) that God would destroy them if they did not repent for their sins. Jonahs story appears in the Bible as well as the Koran. His tomb is perched on a high mound containing many layers of history: an ancient Assyrian temple and palace, a site of devotion for Jews, a Christian church, and a 12th century mosque. In 1924, a grand minaret was added by a Turkish architect who described the glow of the site as Gods gift to Mosul. Renovated in the 1990s under Saddam Hussein, it was a popular draw for pilgrims. Who Gets to Own Iraqs Religious Heritage? But the tomb was much more than a tourist destination; it was a constant, potent symbol. Overlooking the city, it reminded all Maslawis of the interconnectedness of Iraqs diverse religious populations. It was the antithesis of sectarianism. As such, ISISs decision to blow it up read as an attempt to erase the shared history of the many religious populations that Mosul housed, and to erase the very notion that such populations can share anything at all. But now that Mosul has been liberated from ISIS, wethree Iraqis from different religious backgroundshope all our communities will have a hand in rebuilding the city and its holy sites. Sara, of Armenian and Arab descent, was born and raised in Mosul. As a child, she was enchanted by the Nabi Yunus mosque, as the site is locally known. Its yellowish stones reflected sunlight as she and her brother chased each other up and down its seemingly endless stairs, climbed onto its zigguratesque terraces, and zigzagged through its palm trees. She grew up hearing that the site houses the tooth of the whale that swallowed Jonah. She was also keenly aware that Mosuls Yazidi community identified with the area as well, particularly because an ancient shrine is located near Nabi Yunus. Atoor grew up as part of the indigenous Assyrian Christian community in Iraq. She yearns for many quintessential elements of her childhood skyline, but none is more painfully absent now than Jonahs Tomb. The Eastern churches commemorate the repentance of the biblical Ninevites with a three-day fast each year, an important tradition for the Assyrian community. Beyond this religious connection to Jonah, and beyond simple nostalgia, what makes the loss of the tomb painful is a principle that was inculcated in her: Assimilating prior cultural traditions and sources of knowledge has always been a source of strength for Near Eastern civilizations, from antiquity to the modern period. The destruction of Jonahs Tomb signals that this source of strength is under threat. Sigal was raised in a family of Iraqi Jews, but has never been able to visit Iraq. Desperate to escape the persecution that followed the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, her grandfather fled Iraq, along with almost the entire Jewish population. Despite never having seen Jonahs Tomb, she felt it was a constitutive part of her history and personal identity. She grew up hearing the Book of Jonah read in synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. The tomb was a visible reminder that Jews had flourished in Iraq for centuries: Mosul was once home to many synagogues, although they are now reportedly used as garbage dumps, and to trailblazing luminaries like 17th-century yeshiva director Asnat Barzani, although she is now mostly forgotten. Jonahs Tomb is only one example of Iraqs interfaith cooperation. In the city of Al Qosh, an ancient synagogues crumbling walls still bear visible Hebrew inscriptions. Inside is the tomb of Nahum, another Hebrew prophet who predicted the fall of Nineveh. It has been guarded by the same family of Assyrian Christians for generations. When the last Jewish people in Al Qosh left, they asked my grandfather to watch over the tomb, to keep it safe, the caretaker explained in 2015. Nahum is not our prophet, but he is a prophet, so we must respect that. Stories like these prompt us to ask: Where would Iraqs Jews, Christians, and Muslims be without their connection to each other and to their ancient past through sites like the tombs of Jonah and Nahum? What does the story of Iraq amount to without the shared history of its Jews, Christians, and Muslims? And will these questions guide any future efforts to rebuild the tombs? Earlier this year, archeologists documenting the destruction at Jonahs Tomb discovered a 2,600-year-old Assyrian palace, which had never before been excavated. After blowing up the mosque, ISIS had dug tunnels deep underneath, likely plundering many artifacts for sale on the black market. They left behind marble cuneiform inscriptions, stone sculptures of a demi-goddess, and carved reliefs. The British Institute for the Study of Iraq and various international teams rushed forward with bids to help professionals on the ground secure the site and study the remaining treasures. At a UNESCO meeting in Paris, foreign experts and Iraqi officials agreed to work together on the restoration. Amid this flurry of activity, it may be easy to forget that the rebuilding of Jonahs Tomb is not only a matter of concern for local residents and experts of the Near East, but also for Christians, Muslims, and Jews with a connection to Iraq. These various religious groups, along with Yazidis, have a stake in what happens to the site, and any just decision-making process will include representatives from each. Today, three years after seeing the image of Jonahs Tomb destroyed, we recall these words from his story in the KoranIf only there had been a city that believed and profited by its belief as did the people of Jonah!and are hopeful that all people working to rebuild Mosul can muster the strength to believe in the power of its connected cultures and shared history.

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July 24, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Why Jews Everywhere Should Be Helping Egypt’s Christians … – Algemeiner

And they didnt just pray. Their sincere concern for the well-being of Israel manifested itself in action. They donated tens of thousands of dollars to build bomb shelters all across Israel. It is our honor to use our money to provide protection to Israelis from terrorist rocket fire. Buying a new car, renovating my kitchen or doing anything else for myself wouldnt give me nearly as much joy and fulfillment, the pastor told me. I left his house feeling awed and inspired. I hope that my people would help Christians in their time of need, as they have done for us, I thought. July 26, 2017 10:41 am Truth be told, on the whole, we as a people have done an excellent job in raising awareness among our children and our communities about the importance of tikkun olam (repairing the world)of reaching out and supporting worthy causes beyond those that directly affect Jews. At almost every rally and peaceful protest, you can see an Israeli flag, the Star of David or another identifier of Jewish presence. We are helping Syrian refugees, standing up for womens rights and volunteering in the worlds poorest countriesjust to name a few causes we champion. Helping others who suffer from persecution, injustice or discrimination is a hallmark of the Jewish community, and I am proud of that. But at the same time, there are cries that have gone unheard, such as those of the Christians being systematically persecutedand slaughteredacross the Middle East. Coptic Christians, an indigenous population inEgypt dating back to the 1st century AD, have been especially targeted. They represent almost 10 percent of Egypts population, and are being persecuted by Islamic terrorists. At least 28 Coptic Christians, including many children, were ambushed and murdered on May 26 as they traveled by bus to a monastery. In April, two terror attacks hit crowded Coptic churches killing at least 44 people. Since January 2017, hundreds ofCopts have been targeted, murdered and systematically threatened. In response to this horrific campaign of terror, I am astounded that the Jewish community has remained virtually silent. The Jewish community and Israel currently enjoy unprecedented, historic support from the Christian community. Christians are our loudest defenders in the political arena, our most vocal supporters on social media and our greatest contributors when it comes to charitable causes. The annual budget of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (the Fellowship) is $150 million, which is distributed to 1.4 million Jews in need in Israel and around the world. These funds are sacrificially donated by hundreds of thousands of Christian donors in the US and worldwide. Moreover, Christians make up more than half of the tourists who come to Israel annually, significantly bolstering the Jewish states economy and morale. If we can stand up for the sake of other peoples who suffer, how can we not act on behalf of our greatest allies? With all of the issues that we are taking on, how is this not at the forefront of our agenda? For the last few years, Egypts Coptic Christians have been the target of a calculated, cruel terror campaign. Men, women and children (sometimes intentionally women and children) have been murdered in cold blood. Their places of worship and holy books have been blown up and burned. Their homes and shops have been attacked and looted. Sound familiar? We know all too well this pattern in history, and we have vowed never to let it happen again.

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July 23, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Jewish mother, Christian father and Muslim daughters under one roof in Egypt – StepFeed

The Muslim-majority country’s once-vibrant Jewish community has shrunk to a handful of people. While there is no officialcount of the number of Jews living in Egypt today,it was reported to stand at 13 Jews in 2014, according to Egypt Independent. In July 2016, Haroun mentioned that there are only six Jewish women in the country. In the mid-1940s, Egypt’s Jewish community peaked at over 80,000 people, according to Time magazine. Since then, after the establishment of Israel, and former Egyptian presidentGamal Abdel Nasser’smass expulsion of Egyptian Jews, a majority of the latter fled toEurope, Israel, and the United States. Haroun’s family was among those who chose to stay in the country. Haroun attended university in Cairo and eventually took on the family business, an intellectual property firm. “I’m sick of it,” Haroun said about the diminishing community. “Sometimes I wake up in the morning and Im crying because I dont know what will happen. Its very hard to explain. Its very heavy. Its very sad. Its very frightening.”

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July 21, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Why Jews everywhere should be helping Egypt’s Christians – JNS.org

By Yael Eckstein/JNS.org During Israels Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014, I had dinner with a Christian pastor and his family in North Carolina. I was stunned and impressed that each time a rocket was launched from Gaza into Israel, the familys Code Red app blared on their cellphones and they stopped whatever they were doing to pray for Israelis in danger. And they didnt just pray. Their sincere concern for the wellbeing of Israel manifested itself in action. They donated tens of thousands of dollars to build bomb shelters all across Israel to help protect us. It is our honor to use our money to provide protection to Israelis from terrorist rocket fire. Buying a new car, renovating my kitchen or doing anything else for myself wouldnt give me nearly as much joy and fulfillment, the pastor told me. I left his house feeling awed and inspired. I hope that my people would help Christians in their time of need, as they have done for us, I thought. Truth be told, on the whole, we as a people have done an excellent job in raising awareness among our children and our communities about the importance of tikkun olam (repairing the world), of reaching out and supporting worthy causes beyond those that directly affect Jews. At almost every rally and peaceful protest, you can see an Israeli flag, the Star of David or another identifier of Jewish presence. We are helping Syrian refugees, standing up for womens rights and volunteering in the worlds poorest countries, just to name a few causes we champion. Helping others who suffer from persecution, injustice or discrimination is a hallmark of the Jewish community, and I am proud of that. But at the same time, there are cries that have gone unheard, such as those of the Christians being systematically persecutedand slaughteredacross the Middle East. Coptic Christians, an indigenous population of Egypt dating back to the 1st century A.D., hundreds of years before Muslims even came on the scene, have been especially targeted. They represent almost 10 percent of Egypts population and are being persecuted by Islamic terrorists. At least 28 Coptic Christians, including many children, were ambushed and murdered May 26 as they traveled by bus to a monastery. Two terror attacks hit crowded Coptic churches April 10, killing at least 44 people. Since January 2017, more than 100 Copts have been targeted, murdered and systematically threatened. In response to this horrific campaign of terror, I am astounded that the Jewish community has remained virtually silent. The Jewish community and Israel currently enjoy unprecedented, historic support from the Christian community. Christians are our loudest defenders in the political arena, our most vocal supporters on social media and our greatest contributors when it comes to charitable causes. The annual budget of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) is $150 million, which is distributed to 1.4 million Jews in need in Israel and around the world. These funds are sacrificially donated by hundreds of thousands of Christian donors in the U.S. and worldwide. Moreover, Christians make up more than half of the tourists who come to Israel annually, significantly bolstering the the Jewish states economy and morale. If we can stand up for the sake of other peoples who suffer and for different just causes, how can we not act on behalf of our greatest allies? With all of the issues we are taking on, how is this not at the forefront of our agenda? For the last few years, Egypts Coptic Christians have been the target of a calculated, cruel terror campaign. Men, women and children (and sometimes intentionally women and children) have been murdered in cold blood. Their places of worship and holy books have been blown up and burned. Their homes and shops have been attacked and looted. Sound familiar? We know all too well this pattern in history and we have vowed never to let it happen again.

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July 20, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Christianity was founded by an observant Jew – Catholic Star Herald

Pope John Paul II greets Rabbi Elio Toaff at Romes main synagogue April 13, 1986. The meeting marked the beginning of a new era in Catholic-Jewish relations. It was the first time a pope had entered the Rome synagogue. CNS photo/Arturo Mari, LOsservatore Romano I imagine we older Catholics could be forgiven if we presumed Jesus was a Catholic like us. After all, he started us off by giving Peter a new identity as Rock, or Cephas in Aramaic, when he said, You are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church. (Mt 16: 18). The fact is, he was a good observant Jew, practiced in reading the Hebrew Scriptures and attending shabat synagogue. Nazareths was where he preached such a fiery sermon early in his career that his own neighbors were infuriated enough to seize him and take him to the brow of a hill to throw him to his death. Today, bishops assign newly ordained priests away from their home parishes, especially if they have the courage to preach social justice homilies. Mary and Joseph had taught him well, aware that parents are the first and best teachers in the ways of the faith who dont wait for later educators. Their Jewish loyalty saw to his being initiated into Judaism eight days after birth. It continued well past his visit to the Jerusalem temple at 12, when he discussed the Law with the amazed rabbis there, doing his Fathers business, even if his mother scolded him for getting lost for three days. At one point his disciples, or students, asked him how to pray. The Lords Prayer was his answer, and it reveals his Jewishness on a couple of counts. Take the familiar Jewish dependence on God as provider of everything: Give me neither poverty nor riches. Provide me only with the food I need, lest being full, I deny you saying, Who is the Lord? Or being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God (Prv 30f). Jesus called on his Jewish disciples familiarity with Sirachs Forgive your neighbors injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven (28: 2). Sirach and he made their own forgiveness of others to be the kind they could expect of the all-merciful God, who is not impressed with mere words when the deeds are absent. With the terrible burning of the Temple and Jerusalem with it by the Romans in July of 70 A.D. and the flight of the people from the city, the canon or official list of Old Testament books excluded Sirach because it originated outside Israel, in Egypt. Thus Jews and therefore Protestants do not consider Sirach, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Baruch and 1 and 2 Maccabees to be canonical, but they revere these as noteworthy. This makes the Catholic Bible seven books longer than those of our Jewish and Protestant friends. We formed our canon at the 1545-63 Council of Trent. All of which should cause us Catholics and other Christians to respect our Jewish ancestors in the faith. As Pope John said, We all are spiritual Semites, he who did so much to rescue thousands of Jews from the Holocaust while serving in Turkey. We need reminders like this. As Swiss theologian Hans Kung said, anti-Semitism is the churchs longest-standing sin. By the end of the first century, the tail was wagging the dog. Gentile converts to Christianity were multiplying despite the emperors persecutions while Jewish membership fell off. Someone got the idea that it would be good religion to harass both Jewish Christians and Jewish non-Christians. How God was supposed to be pleased with this attack on Gods Chosen People, a designation never retracted, still mystifies. The Holocaust it means wholly burnt sacrificial offering did not just start in 20th century Nazism. Economic explanations have been offered. A people uninterested in evangelizing because blood lines established membership, thus uninterested in getting new Gentile members, pulled together and made themselves stronger against the pogroms, becoming a formidable force in banking, the only field some countries left to them because money handling was considered beneath Christian dignity. Yet Christians did not hesitate to borrow from Jewish bankers. In Venice, Jews were consigned to an island of their own after centuries of living well with Christians there. The Yiddish word for divorce then was ghet, Italianized to ghetto. Jews were divorced from mainstream society, required to live in Jewish compounds. Into the 20th century the city of Romes law forbade the entrance of a synagogue being placed on a main street. A 20th century pope was the first successor of Jewish Peter to visit a synagogue. Hard to imagine Jewish Jesus approving much of this.

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July 20, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed


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