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May 25, 1984 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-05-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, May 25, 1984 11

Passion Play controversy
heats up following premiere

Oberammergau (JTA) —
Heated controversy still
surrounds the Oberammer-
gau Passion Play, which
had its season's premiere
here Sunday before
thousands of distinguished
ts, including the prime
isters of Bavaria and
Baden-Wuettemberg,
Franz Josef Strauss and
Lothar Spaeth.
Mayor Klement Fend of
Oberammergau insisted
that charges of anti-
Semitism in the play's con-
tent were unfounded and
unacceptable to the local
townfolk who have pro-
duced and acted in it every
decade for the past 350
years.
But this was strongly dis-
puted by the members of an
interfaith delegation from
the United States who wit-
nessed Sunday's perform-
ance and attested that the
play "remains marred by a
deep and pervasive anti-
Jewish orientation." The
delegation, sponsored by
the American Jewish
Committee, included two
prominent Christian schol-
ars, Prof. Eva Fleischner, a
Roman Catholic author and

theologian and the Rev. Dr.
William
Harter,
a
Presbyterian church leader.
Rabbi A. James Rudin,
the AJCommittee's na-
tional interreligious affairs
director, one of the leaders
of the group, summed up
their reaction by saying the
1984 version of the play is
"fundamentally flawed and
still perpetuates the per-
nicious myth that Jews are
eternally guilty for Jesus'
crucifixion."
He and Mimi Alperin,
Chair of the AJCommittee's
Interreligious Affairs
Commission who is co-
leader of the group, called
for stronger efforts to
"eradicate defamations of
Jews and Judaism that per-
sist in the drama despite re-
visions in the text."
Mayor Fend readily ac-
knowledged that the ver-
sion of the play that was
performed Sunday and will
continue through the 1984
season was the "traditional
version," not the amended
so-called "Rosner Passion,"
a revised text proposed in
1977 which was widely
viewed as relatively free of
anti-Semitic bias.

The mayor, who is 29,
made it clear that the de-
cennial performance of the
Passion Play is as much a
commercial as a spiritual
occasion. He noted that the
Oberammergau community
has made several efforts to
attract tourists to a newly
opened guest house.

Economic peace

Tel Aviv (ZINS) — Prof.
Haim Ben-Shachar, the
Labor Alignment's candi-
date for Finance Minister in
the 1981 election, feels a re-
duction in the Israeli
standard of living will be
necessary to retain any
semblance of peace in the
Middle East.
Ben-Shachar, in a radio
interview earlier this
month, said that the eco-
nomic strength of Egypt,
Syria and Jordan was grow-
ing at a faster rate than that
of Israel. "If this imbalance
continues, I wouldn't put too
much trust even in a signed
peace agreement with
Egypt," the professor said.

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