“Preaching the gospel without rancor toward Judaism and without words that do violence to Jews is a sacred obligation at any time of the liturgical year. But it’s especially important during Holy Week, once the most dangerous time for Jews,” writes Elena Procario-Foley, the Brother John G. Driscoll Professor of Jewish-Catholic Studies, Iona University. The Episcopal Church has done significant work in recent years to address the places in our lectionary and liturgies that, consciously or not, have contributed to anti-Judaism and hate toward Jewish peoples.
One of the richest and holiest parts of our church calendar has a history inextricably linked with a history of violence and persecution of Jewish people. But this history is not removed from our present reality:
In 2022, ADL tabulated 3,697 antisemitic incidents throughout the United States. This is a 36% increase from the 2,717 incidents tabulated in 2021 and the highest number on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979. This is the third time in the past five years that the year-end total has been the highest number ever recorded. – Anti-Defamation League
At the latest Clergy Day, Rev. Canon Tom Ferguson, Canon for Mission and Formation, the Very Rev. Megan Castellan, and Rev. Taylor Daynes shared the importance of actively combatting anti-Judaism along with four “Don’ts” and four “Dos” for this important work.
- Don’t hold “Christian Seders”
- Don’t call people Pharisees or use Pharisee as a synonym of “Hypocrite”
- Don’t engage in anti-Jewish Marcionism or Gnosticism
- Don’t diss the Torah
- Watch out for anti-Judaism in Holy Week Liturgies and Readings
- Be aware of Authorized Liturgies and Biblical Translations
- Be careful when speaking of issues connected to Israel/Palestine
- Do make efforts to connect with Local Rabbis and/or Interreligious Organizations
You can download the slides from the Clergy Day presentation here or contact Revs. Tom, Megan, and Taylor by clicking their names to request more information.
- Read 10 ways to avoid inadvertent antisemitism during Holy Week from Faith and Leadership.
- Read Church faces renewed pressure to change Good Friday liturgy that risks fueling anti-Jewish hatred from Episcopal News Service.