A group of Orthodox rabbis have issued a public statement advocating partnership with Christians and appreciating the religious value of Christianity.
The statement, signed by more than 25 prominent Orthodox rabbis in Israel, the United States, and Europe, is published on the website of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) in Israel.
Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn, academic director of the Center, tells OneNewsNow that the statement – entitled "To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven: Toward a Partnership between Jews and Christians" – was clearly influenced by Christianity's affirmation of the eternity of the Jewish covenant and the respect that Christian leaders have demonstrated toward Judaism and Jews in contemporary dialogues and religious encounters.
He explains that there is some commonality. "The first principle in the Bible really is that all human beings are created in the image of God," he shares, "which means they're holy and sacrosanct and can't be violated – and that's the starting point to both Christian and Jewish ethics, and we need to teach that to the world."
The rabbi says that message is being drowned out by extremism.
"The world desperately needs the message of Judaism and Christianity that human life is sacred and that we have a moral responsibility to make the world better and to avoid violence – certainly violence in the name of religion but certainly all forms of unjustified violence."
In a press release about the statement, Korn states:
"Jewish thinkers have previously crafted statements like Dabru Emet in 2000 on Jewish-Christian relations and theology, but few Orthodox rabbis could go along with those theological and practical claims in light of their understanding of Jewish tradition. This proclamation's breakthrough is that influential Orthodox rabbis across all centers of Jewish life have finally acknowledged that Christianity and Judaism are no longer engaged in a theological duel to the death and that Christianity and Judaism have much in common spiritually and practically. Given our toxic history, this is unprecedented in Orthodoxy."
Rabbi Korn says Jews and Christians face the same enemies: radical secularism and religious extremism. The proclamation's authors are inviting fellow Orthodox rabbis to join in signing the statement.