Friday, February 29, 2008


according to Rabbi Jacob Neusner in the Jewish daily Forward:

Israel prays for gentiles, so the other monotheists, the Catholic Church included, have the right to do the same — and no one should feel offended, as many have by Pope Benedict XVI’s recent revision of the Tridentine Mass.

Any other policy toward gentiles would deny their access to the one God whom Israel knows in the Torah. And the Catholic prayer expresses the same generous spirit that characterizes Judaism at worship.

God’s kingdom opens its gates to all humanity and when at worship, the Israelites ask for the speedy advent of God’s kingdom. They express the same liberality of spirit that characterizes the pope’s text for the prayer for the Jews on Good Friday.

Let me explain. I derive evidence of the theology of Judaism toward gentiles from the standard liturgy of the synagogue. I draw the text from “The Authorised Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire,” published in London in 1953, which sets forth an English translation of a prayer for the conversion of gentiles that concludes public worship three times a day every day through the year.

Very sensible. Each and every person adheres to the religion he believes is the one true religion. Yes, we think the others are in error. But that doesn't mean we use violent or repressive means to correct the error. Prayer is something that every believer in a good God has a right to. When we pray for the Jews, we seek the same thing for them that we seek for the members of our own family--eternal happiness in Heaven. While they don't agree with our methods of pursuit, I would hope that they would not discount the concern for their welfare that the prayer expresses.

Read the whole article here.

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