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Statement by Dr. David Berger regarding the New York Times ad by Dabru Emet

Posted on September 14, 2000 In Press Releases

The following statement by Dr. David Berger was issued by the Institute for Public Affairs of the Orthodox Union regarding the New York Times ad by Dabru Emet:

This is in many ways an admirable statement composed by people for whom I have high regard. I agree with much of it, including the controversial but carefully balanced passage denying that Nazism was a Christian phenomenon. However, I did not agree to sign it for several reasons. First, for all its exquisitely skillful formulation, it implies that Jews should reassess their view of Christianity in light of Christian reassessments of Judaism. This inclination toward theological reciprocity is fraught with danger. Second, although it is proper to emphasize that Christians “worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, creator of heaven and earth,” it is essential to add that worship of Jesus of Nazareth as a manifestation or component of that God constitutes what Jewish law and theology call avodah zarah, or foreign worship—at least if done by a Jew. Many Jews died to underscore this point, and the bland assertion that “Christian worship is not a viable choice for Jews” is thoroughly inadequate. Finally, the statement discourages either community from “insisting that it has interpreted Scripture more accurately than the other.” While intended for the laudable purpose of discouraging missionizing, this assertion conveys an uncomfortably relativistic message.