NEWS Italian Rabbis Criticize New Theological Statements on Christianity

momiglianoBy Adam Smulevich

The president of the Italian Rabbinical Assembly Giuseppe Momigliano spoke critically of the public statement by 25 Orthodox rabbis, mostly from Modern Orthodox circles, in which they interpret the birth of Christianity as part of a divine plan so that Jews and Christians can work together for the redemption of the world.

“I understand the spirit in which it was written, but theological assertions such as these risk causing damage. It is more useful to focus on areas where collaboration can turn into something concrete,” rav Momigliano said in a conversation with Pagine Ebraiche.

Rav Momigliano added that he doesn’t expect the document to cause a split inside the rabbinate, because “many influential figures” are among the signatories. Nevertheless, he has the impression that these initiatives will not help to achieve “real targets” such joint action in terms of justice, freedom and social environment.

The statement, titled “To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven: Toward a Partnership between Jews and Christians,” was signed, among others, by the American Jewish Committee’s international director of interreligious affairs rav David Rosen.

A few hours later at the Holy See, Rosen introduced a document (“The Gifts and Calling of God Are Irrevocable”), which has the goal of solidifying the positive relations between Christians and Jews, issued by the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jews.
In the conversation with Pagine Ebraiche, rav Momigliano seemed to show interest and appreciation for the document. However, he said, he will be able to offer a more articulate assessment only after a deeper reading.