I am writing in response to the Faith column in last week’s JR (Jan. 20-21) entitled “Why did some people want to arrest Jesus.” I am Jewish, but am interested in all religions, so I look forward to Saturday when various features in our paper deal with Christianity.
But this article, directed at children, greatly upset me. From the very first sentence the writer presents the idea that “they,” the Jews, killed Jesus, who was also a Jew. This belief, endlessly repeated, has directly led to 2,000 years of antisemitism and persecution of Jews, which culminated in the Holocaust. And as we know, antisemitism is currently on the rise here and around the world.
I do not wish to debate, here, whether this belief is historically accurate. The article touches on the complicated religious/political situation between Romans and Jews in Palestine at the time. What I care about is that a seven-year-old American boy named Jonathan is quoted as saying, “They did not like Jesus. They hated him. They did not think he was the savior and they wanted to crucify him.”
Jonathan is right about one thing. Jews do not consider Jesus the Messiah. We believe the Messiah will come in the future; that is a bedrock belief of our religion. Many Jews do appreciate a number of Jesus’s teachings. But if we are to live in a society that respects all people, children should not be taught to hate others, the “they” that the article repeats over and over, who believe differently from themselves.
I respect my Christian neighbors in Crawfordsville. I hope they respect, and teach their children to respect, those of us who live here who don’t happen to share all of their beliefs.