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January 27, 2022 12:34 pm
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Latest Synagogue Attack Should Awaken Christians to Stand with Their Jewish Neighbors

avatar by Aaron Fruh

Opinion

Chabad of Poway, Calif. Photo: Chabad of Poway.

There is a curious — tragic, really — silence in the Christian community during a time when antisemitism is approaching historic levels. After the recent hostage crisis at Congregation Beth Israel in Texas, what we heard from the Christian community was — for the most part — crickets.

Seventeen hundred years of proclaiming erroneous myths about Jews — such as the blood libel; the Desecration of the Host; the false charge of deicide; triumphalism (Christians have triumphed over Jews); and replacement theology have left Christianity indifferent toward the Jewish community, and, in some cases, even revengeful.

Thus, in the present onslaught against synagogues (Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, Chabad in Poway, now Beth Israel in Colleyville), along with physical attacks against Jews and the consistent vandalism of Jewish houses of worship and hallowed Jewish cemeteries, there has failed to be a wide-reaching and collective voice of Christians rising to challenge the violence.

As an Evangelical Christian, it is troubling to me that many Evangelicals love Israel, but dislike Jews.

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We cannot have Abraham’s God without Abraham’s children. Yet, many Christian leaders today are content in keeping the age-long arrogance toward the synagogue alive. One leading Evangelical mega church pastor in Atlanta recently encouraged his congregation of 30,000 members to, “unhitch” their faith from the “Jewish scriptures” and from a Biblically Jewish “worldview and value system.” He further stated, “God’s covenant with [the Jewish people] has served its purpose. It is no longer needed.”

When Judaism is maligned in this way, it is no wonder why Christians find it easy to marginalize Jews and remain indifferent to the dangers Jews face when attending their houses of worship.

But, wonderfully, it is not too late for Christians to set aside 1,700 years of arrogant pride and honor our Jewish elders for all they have given to us. Here are five ways we can begin to mend the relationship:

First, Christians should love Jews out of love for G-d, who identifies Himself as the G-d of the Jews. The greatest commandment is to love G-d with all our hearts, and then to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Second, Church leaders should be the first to raise their voices in protest when the Jewish community is attacked. Christians have a huge social media platform — it is time to end the silence and speak out, because silence is evil’s greatest ally. Let’s not forget the words of the German pastor, Martin Niemoller, who in shame lamented after the Holocaust, “…they came for the Jews and I did not speak up because I was not a Jew.” May Christians today not repeat this same crime of indifference.

Third, Christians should regularly contribute to the staggering cost synagogues are now paying for security to protect their congregations during gatherings for worship. The Jewish community may be (rightfully so, I think) concerned about the motivation behind such support, so Christians should consider giving anonymously — with no hidden agenda.

Fourth, because of the growing scourge of antisemitism on college campuses, Christian student groups should stand in solidarity with Jewish student groups like Hillel, and offer their voice of advocacy to protest the violent treatment of Jewish students.

Fifth, Christians should read books that will help them understand the roots of the age-long divide between Christians and Jews, and church and synagogue. A good place to start would be with, “Our Father Abraham” by Dr. Marvin Wilson; “The Aryan Jesus” by Dr. Susannah Heschel; and “Londonistan” by Melanie Phillips.

Jews are hated (I believe) because they brought the moral law of God into the world. If Christians truly value God’s moral law, they will protect the womb that gave it birth — namely, the Jewish people. If we continue to remain silent when synagogues are targeted with violence, when Jews are maligned on college campuses, and when Jews are attacked in the streets, then the very integrity of Christianity is questionable.

Aaron Fruh is the President of Israel Team Advocates — a non-profit organization that advocates for Israel and the Jewish people on American college campuses. You can find out more about Israel Team at israelteam.org or on Facebook.

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