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November 13, 2020 11:28 am

German Catholic and Protestant Churches Unite for ‘Jewish and Christian — Closer Than You Think’ Campaign

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

A ‘kippah rally’ in Berlin in April 2018 expressing solidarity with Germany’s Jewish community. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.

Germany’s Protestant and Catholic Churches are coming together in a joint campaign to fight antisemitic hatred of Jews under the slogan, “Jewish and Christian — closer than you think.”

The initiative — which will be launched in January — was announced on Thursday at a press conference in Berlin.

“It must be made clear that antisemitism is a sin and contradicts everything Christianity stands for,” Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm — chair of the council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) — declared.

The “central element of the campaign will be posters for each month, based on festivals and traditions, that will point to similarities and differences between the two religions, and which can be displayed in churches and church institutions,” the EKD stated in a press release.

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One Jewish leader interviewed by the online newsletter of the World Council of Churches (WCC) warmly endorsed the campaign.

“I think it’s a good idea for such a poster series that presents what’s Christian and what’s Jewish alongside each other,” Rabbi Andreas Nachama — chair of the General Rabbinical Conference of Germany — said.

Nachama, who was involved in developing the campaign, noted its emergence during a period in which antisemitism has sharply increased in Germany.

“Churches are part of this society, so there will be antisemitism there as well, even though in my many encounters with Christians, I have not experienced this,” said Nachama.

Originating from an initiative of the Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Oberlausitz, the campaign has developed into a Germany-wide ecumenical project which has been taken up and supported by the EKD and the German (Roman Catholic) Bishops’ Conference.

“We must not look away when Jews are insulted or attacked,” the Catholic bishop of Erfurt, Ulrich Neymeyr, declared. “And we must not ignore it when Jewish jokes are laughed at, when people go on about a supposed Jewish world conspiracy, or when the State of Israel is demonized.”

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