Response to Vandalism of Christian Sites

We Jewish members and supporters of the Elijah Interfaith Institute, who include rabbis, teachers and scholars of Jewish studies together with other residents of Israel, wish to express our deep disdain for the acts of vandalism perpetrated against Christian sites in Israel, including the most recent attack on the Dormition Abbey. We feel deeply sorry that our Christian friends are treated with such disrespect by others who purport to share our Jewish faith.

In our understanding, the creation of humanity in God’s image is the great motif of the Torah. We believe the Torah mandates full respect for the infinite value, equality and uniqueness of every human life, for we are all created in the image of God. There is no place for hatred or bigotry towards those whose religious commitment is different from our own.

The Church has justifiably asked questions about the type of values-education that Jewish children are receiving. The Elijah Interfaith Institute shares these concerns and we are working together to bring to light teachings of Judaism that cohere to the worldview that love of one’s own group should not be equated with the hatred of others. Israel’s calling is harmonious with the well-being of all humanity. Our Torah’s ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace. These and other great principles are the guidelines through which we interpret and teach our tradition.

Under our Theology of Religions project, we are compiling sources related to the ‘Jewish Theology of the Other’ that will be invaluable resources in providing a model of Judaism that is compatible with these ideals.

We scholars, students and ordinary citizens associated with the Elijah Interfaith Institute strive to educate our fellow Jews to emulate our Maker and remember that ‘The Lord is good to all, and His compassion extends to all His creatures’ (Psalm 145).

We wish to express our sincere regrets that this desecration took place and our commitment to rededicating ourselves to working towards religious understanding in the Holy Land.