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January 07, 1983 - Image 61

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-01-07

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Anglican Priest Examines
Jewish-Christian Relations

NEW YORK — Strong,
deeply felt thoughts on
Jewish-Christian relations
by an Anglican priest are
recorded in Alan Eccles-
tone's "The Night Sky of the
Lord" (SchOcken). Now in
his 70s, Ecclestone
writes with a long lifetime's
experience of this often
painful question, and
though he frames his con-
clusions in gentle lan-
guage, they carry a lot of
His first and most basic
point is that "anti-Semitism
. . . has stained the history
of Christendom." Quietly
and unsparingly, Eccles-
tone surveys the evolution
of Christian anti-Semitism
— from New Testament
polemics, through Justin
Martyr's "Dialogue with
Trypho the Jew," to the
failure of Christianity- to
condemn and oppose the
Auschwitz, he argues, "is
perhaps for the churches in
Europe their last chance to
pray responsibly for man-
kind." But even after the
fact, institutional Chris-
tianity seems largely deaf to
the message of Auschwitz
(e.g., in Vatican. II's per-
functory treatment of
Turning from history to
doctrine, Ecclestone calls
for the replacement of

"anti-Jewi§h theology
. . . by a wholly new pat-
tern of thinking." This
would involve such
things as abandonment
of missions to the Jews
and rejection of trium-
phalist approaches to the
On a still more theoreti-
cal level. Ecclestone urges
Christians to recover "the
Hebraic understanding of
the creation and of the na-
ture of human life." (The no-
tion of God's partnership
with man, for instance,
might awaken the some-
times dormant Christian
sense of social responsibil-
And recent efforts by
Jewish scholars (Sandmel,
Vermes, Lapide) to look at
Jesus in a purely Judaic
context .should help Chris-
tians to balance their own
view of Christ.
While he supports
Zionism, Ecclestone may ir-
ritate some Jewish readers
by complaining that the
state of Israel has elevated
"State power to supremacy
over all other aspects of na-
tional life." Still, he is so
well informed about
Judaism, so honest, sensi-
tive, and non-dogmatic,
that this forceful personal
statement ought to engage
anyone interested is
Jewish-Christian dialogue.

Jewish Community Thrives in City of Milan

named after Sally Mayer,
MILAN (JTA) — Milan is the noted Jewish indus-
the gateway to Italy, the trialist and philan-
money maker of this repub- thropist. There is a
lic and the industrial - Jewish day school on this
commercial capital of this street.
nation of 62 million people.
In shops and outdoor cafes
This European trading of the famous Galleria, the
center boasts international center of political and social
fairs, a silk market, nearly life of the city and situated
1,000 banks, 32,151 firms near the Milan Cathedral
and 26,981 manufacturers. and the La Scala Opera, one
It is a city that produces and can hear men and women
sells everything.
speaking Arabic. Some of
Within this thriving met- them are Jews from Libya.
ropolis is also a vital Jewish Several thousand Libyan
community of 10,000 Jews came here in 1948 be-
people, about one-third of cause they spoke Italian.
the entire Jewish popula- Until the middle of World
tion of Italy. Jews and War II, Italy controlled
Jewish sites are visible Libya.
everywhere. There are 10
There are also about
synagogues, five kosher 1,000 Iranian Jews here.
butcher shops, several Tal- They maintain their own
mud Torahs and a day synagogue and club for
young people. They are ex-
Jewish and Italian cul- cellent businessmen, skil-
tural and social activities led in the diamond and car-
are intertwined in a com- pet trade. They are very
plex mosaic. Next to the pro-Israel and are actively
world famous Am- involved in behalf of the
brosiana Museum of Jewish state. Many Egyp-
Piazza Pio XI Square, tian Jews also settled here,
which contains Judaica the result of the emigration
and features the designs from Egypt after the 1956
of Leonardo da Vinci, is and 1967 wars. Jews from
"Coen's Butcher Shop," Nazi Germany also settled
operated by Jews from here, after fleeing from Hit-
Egypt. Along with typical ler in the 1930's.
Italian street names are
The diversity of. the
also streets such as Jewish community in Milan
Piazzo Tel Aviv and Via is also characterized by the
Sally Mayer which is presence of many

An Historic Perspective on Jesus
in Maccoby's Revolution in Judea'

NEW YORK — In the
minds of many Christians
today, Jesus has ceased al-
together to be a Jew. Some
Christians are in fact un-
aware that Jesus was a Jew.
In "Revolution in Judea"
(Taplinger), Hyam Maccoby
offers a provocative and
convincing new view of
Jesus presented from this
persuasive but often neg-
lected perspective, with
special emphasis on Jewish
ideas, customs, rites, and
beliefs during Biblical
times. The book has just
been re-issued in paper-
The result is a startling
and readable reconstruction
and reinterpretation of
Jesus's life that will be of
enormous interest both to
Christians and Jews. In-
deed, Maccoby's compelling
narrative frequently has
the gripping fascination of a
detective story.
Modern Biblical schol-
arship has shown that the
picture of Palestine in
Jesus's period that we have
received from the Gospels is
a distorted one. By omitting
everything of political sig-
nificance from their ac
counts, the Gospels give a
misleading impression of
the popular political move-
ment led by Jesus.
The fact that Judea
was in a state of seething
discontent with Roman
rule and ' constantly
erupted into revolution-
ary or apocalyptic
movements is scarcely

hinted at. On the con-
trary, the Gospels give
the impression of a set-
tled province of the
Roman Empire, long
reconciled to Roman
Maccoby focuses his dis-
cussion on the facts of
Jesus's life and death (as
opposed to the interpreta-
tion of the facts added by the
Gospels) to show that Jesus
was a leader of the Jewish
resistance against the
Roman occupation. From
the beginning, Jesus was a
man of action and his public
speaking had a strong polit-
ical aspect.
As a preacher of the
"kingdom of God," he was
announcing the end of
Roman rule. When he later
claimed the Messiahship,
Jesus was on a collision
course with Rome, for he
was making a bid for power
as a literal — not metaphor-
ical or "spiritual" — King of
the Jews. When Jesus
entered Jerusalem, the
people greeted him as king,
raised the ancient cry of in-
dependence, "Hosanna!"
and strewed palms before
him — and everyone there
was well aware that he was
engaged in an act of rebel-
lion against Rome
Maccoby sums up Jesus's
beliefs and aims as follows:
"Jesus believed that
the time for the fulfill-
ment of the prophecies of
Zechariah, Joel and
Isaiah had come, the
foreign enemies spoken

Friday, January 1, 1983 61

of in those prophecies against some metaphysical
being the Romans; that a evil but against Rome. Yet
great battle would take the movement which denied
place against the Ro- his life by deifying him mis-
mans, in which the Jews represented him as being
would be led by a de- opposed to the people whom
scendant of King David, a he most loved and on whose
Messiah or Christ, who behalf he fought.
would be the lawful king
"It was an entirely fit-
of the Jews; that the ting outcome that this
battle would be accom- movement, Gentile-
panied by miracles (in- Christianity, made a suc-
cluding an earthquake cessful accommodation
and plagues) in which the with Rome and became
Romans and the un- the official religion of the
worthy among the Jews Empire which crucified
would perish; that the Jesus."
battle would be a victory
Maccoby was a "Domus
for the Messiah and the Exhibitioner in Classics" at
Jews, who would then Balliol College, Oxford, and
embark on an era of in- is now librarian of the Leo
dependence; and that Baeck College in London.
this would also be an era
of peace and spiritual
advance for the whole
"This was Jesus's vision,
and it was a noble one. It
was also a revolutionary
vision, involving the over-
throw of Roman power."
The author bases this
narrative on his knowledge
of both Roman and Jewish
history. And he goes on to
show how the historical
Jesus was transformed by
the Gospels into a divine
being serving those very
powers he gave his life to
Writes Maccoby:
"Jesus tried to bring
about the kingdom of God
on earth, and he failed; but
the meaning of his life is in
Take stock in America.
the attempt, not in the fail-
Buy LS. Savings Bonds.
ure. As a Jew, he fought not

Ashkenazim, who in the
last century found their way
to this city as they moved
into Southern Europe. In
the past few years Milan
has also become the home
for a small number of Soviet
Jews and Israelis. -
The headquarters of
the Jewish community
and the Documentation
Center on Italian and
World Jewry is at Via
Eupili 6.
The Lubavitch movement
maintains a synagogue and
a yeshiva at Via Carlo
Poerio 35 and has made
progress in imbuing the
Jewish community with a
measure of religious con-
sciousness. Jewish leaders,
however, point out that the
Lubavitch are not part of
the mainstream of Jewish
life and that the separation
between them and the
highly assimilated Italian
Jews remains to be over-
come. There is a great deal
of assimilation and many
mixed marriages, but Ita-
lian Jewry survives by the
immigration of new groups
which replace those who
have become assimilated.
Milan Jews are engaged
in professions rather than
as entrepreneurs or small
businessmen, as are the
Jews of Rome. Jews here are
conscious of the need for ac-
quiring higher education.
While higher education is
not free in Italy, 90 percent
of the Jewish youth attend
college where they study
medicine, engineering,
chemistry, business and
architecture. ,
Part of the reason Jews

settle in Milan is the cul-
tural life and the diversity
of social activity. It is after
all, the home of the legen-
dary La Scala opera house,
the home of Verdi and Puc-
cini. It is also the center of
fashion shows and -of taste
and tastebuds.
There is an easy inter-
mingling of Jews and
non-Jews. Kosher food
can be obtained at the
senior citizens home as
well as through the
Lubavitch center. Jews
hold kosher banquets
and Bar Mitzvas and
weddings at the Hilton
Hotel. Many Jewish
businessmen gather at
the Hotel Executive on
Viale Surzo, which caters
to commercial and gov-
ernmental personnel
from around the world.
During the war in Leba-
non, Israel's popularity
slipped. However, there was
no visible sign of any anti-
Israel feeling among Ita-
lians here. There was an at-
tempt by a small subver-
sive, illegal leftist 'group,
Communists Organized for
Proletarian Liberation
(COLP), to bomb the Jewish
community center on the
night of Sept. 29, but this
was severely condemned by
officials and the public.
The official Communist
Party itself undertook a
propaganda campaign
against Israel and every
night sent out a sound truck
blaring anti-Israel state-
ments. As the truck travel-
led through the city, nobody
seemed to listen; nobody
seemed to care.

are house calls
a thing of
the past??



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