The left side of the image is an abstract red and blue watercolor splotch, over which it reads "AVOIDING ANTI-JUDAISM." The watercolor splotch fades into a neutral background with a simple wooden cross and Star of David.“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’ts

  1. Don’t hold “Christian Seders”
  2. Don’t call people Pharisees or use Pharisee as a synonym of “Hypocrite”
  3. Don’t engage in anti-Jewish Marcionism or Gnosticism
  4. Don’t diss the Torah

Dos

  1. Watch out for anti-Judaism in Holy Week Liturgies and Readings
  2. Be aware of Authorized Liturgies and Biblical Translations
  3. Be careful when speaking of issues connected to Israel/Palestine
  4. 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.

Bonus Reading

Showing 2 comments
  • John Carlson
    Reply

    Bravo to the Diocese of Central New York for tackling this important mission. While the Holy Week narratives contain some of the most egregious examples in our lectionary, it is important to remember that anti-Judaism, anti-Semitism, and supersessionism exist throughout the RCL. All who preach in our churches need to be educated on recognizing these and finding ways to preach without contempt.

    Two excellent resources: Preaching the Gospels Without Blaming the Jews and also Preaching the Letters Without Dismissing the Law, both by Ronald J. Allen and Clark M. Williamson.

    Also: Preaching Without Contempt by Marilyn J. Salmon

  • John Carlson
    Reply

    The Diocese of CNY is to be commended for recognizing this issue and for educating its lay and ordained leaders to avoid anti-Judaism in their preaching. Two excellent resources: Preaching the Gospels Without Blaming the Jews and Preaching the letters Without Dismissing the Law, both by Ronald Allen and Clark Williamson.

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