Interfaith Dialogue II

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Eschewing the path of totally ignoring the events in American society, The Jewish Observer boldly addressed the topic of Mel Gibson’s The Passion in its Nissan 5764/April 2004 issue. Chosen to tackle the issue was the eloquent Yonason (AKA Jonathan) Rosenblum in the lead article titled “Passion, Prejudice, and Political Incorrectness.” Predictably, although this time plausibly, taking the opposite stance of mainstream Jewry, Rosenblum criticized the tactics of the ADL and Amcha. After listing the mistakes of the mainstream Jewish establishment, Rosenblum set forth his proposal for how we should have dealt with the movie. This is where things start to get very interesting.

[T]hat does not mean that the Jewish community was helpless in the face of the threat posed by the movie or without potential allies. The Catholic Church presented the most natural ally. Since the early 1960s, the Church has been working with Jewish groups to reverse the deadly effects of millennia of Church teachings on Jewish guilt… [H]ere too there were grounds to work together with evangelicals and other conservative Protestants… In recent years, a number of close relationships have been forged between Jews, mostly Orthodox, and leading figures from the so-called religious Right…

Say what? Was that just an endorsement of interfaith dialogue from a prominent Haredi spokesman, writing in the organ of Agudath Israel of America?!?

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student currently is serving his third term on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and also serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazineand the Board of OU Press. He has published four English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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