We have reached a red line - Time for positive actionThe burning of the Tabgha Church has brought religiously based hatred to new heights. This is the first time that Jews burn a church with a religious text as support. We cannot remain silent in the face of such a show of hatred in the name of religion. We must show the world, those who were injured, and above all - ourselves, that the Judaism of hate is not our Judaism. Our Judaism builds; it does not destroy.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslav taught - If you believe you can destroy, believe you can repair. We must deliver a message of repair where others have delivered a message of hatred and destruction.
Among the buildings destroyed in Tabgha is the encounter center, the friendship center, where monks met with people of all faiths and nationalities. The Benedictine monks never engage in mission to anyone, and they have a principled respect for Judaism.
We must give symbolic expression to rebuilding friendship where hatred led to burning.
Your contribution will serve to restore the Friendship Center for Interfaith Encounter.
It will also declare to the world that Judaism stands for religious tolerance and diversity and against hatred and destruction.
It will heal the pain in our hearts, pain caused by seeing that Judaism is infected with hatred of others.
It will restore friendship between Jews and Christians through what will be studied and disseminated throughout the campaign, through prizes given, through relationships formed, and through ongoing activities for spreading and deepening this spirit of friendship during the campaign and beyond it.
Through one simple act, everyone can express their faith in a Judaism that builds and restores, that stands for religious tolerance and the spirit of friendship.
We are grateful to have reached our initial goal with your support. This week I visited Tabgha together with rabbis from Montreal. The monks are grateful for the show of friendship and solidarity, as well as for the financial support. There is still no word on the final extent of damages, but they are tenfold anything we are able to raise through this campaign
We are happy to announce that we have an offer for matching funds for the last leg of the project. We are seeking to raise an additional 25,000 shekels, which will be matched by an important Jewish North American organization. Every shekel you contribute is therefore worth 2 shekels. The monies will go for the same activities. As stated, the needs and costs are far in advance of what has been raised to date.
Thank you for your support, on behalf of myself, the Elijah team and our friends on Mt. Zion and Tabgha.
Rabbinic Support for the ProjectWe are fighting for the heart and image of Judaism, and for own heart and image. In this battle we are receiving increasing support from rabbinic leadership that believes that the torching of Tabgha Church (and of other churches and mosques) is a desecration of the Divine name (Hilul Hashem). We must respond with acts of Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God's name).
Many rabbis already support this initiative. Below are their names and some words offered on their behalf:
1. Rabbi Nachum Rabinowitz, first among supporters and donors. He sees in this project one of prime importance touching the heart of Judaism and its relations with the world. He is happy to be a leading example, inviting other rabbis to follow suit.
2. Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. What took place is a Hillul Hashem. The centrality of Kiddush Hadhem is such that one must support this project 100%.
3. Rabbi Daniel Sperber. Here we have an instance of public Kiddush Hashem. When one speaks of public Kiddush Hashem this allows us to rely on certain views of Christianity, even if under other circumstances we might prefer not to rely on them.
4. Rabbi Shlomo Vilk. Beyond considerations of how this will look to the outside, one must highlight the notions of loving kindness and care for religious minorities as internal Jewish imperatives.
5. Rabbi Yehuda ben Shimshon. The notion of being a sojourner and the memory of our being strangers in Egypt place upon us such great responsibility to treat minorities well, that we must go beyond our usual measure in favor of actions that will strengthen this awareness and sensitivity.
6. Rabbi Yehuda Herzel Henkin. Support for this initiative is based on his ruling concerning permissibly of contributing to Church construction. See Hebrew for sources. He accordingly is happy to join the initiative.
7. Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein. Working in education throughout the world, I can state one cannot overestimate the significance of an initiative that helps Judaism see and be seen in a better light by the world at large.
8. Rabbi Ronen Lubitch. This initiative is something of a healing for the pain we feel when we see such horrible acts.
9. Rabbi Daniel Herschkowitz. This is an initiative of first rate significance. We must concentrate on education as a means of bringing about changes of heart and mind in relation to the other.
10. Rabbi David Rosen. We need to change course in relation to how Christianity is seen in the public and to revisit common assumptions. This project aids us in engaging in such reflection.
11. Rabbi Eliyahu Birenbaum.
12. Rabbi David Bigman. The more extreme acts of religious violence requires of us a more extreme response to the contrary.
13. Rabbu Avi Gisser.
14. Rabbi David Stav.
15. Rabbi Naftali Rothenberg. We are not dealing simply with wild weeds. These deeds reveal a deep educational need we must address.
When the state of Israel was discussed in the United Nations, prior to its establishment, Rabbi Herzog traveled to assure the freedom of all religions in Israel. We must consider this principle fundamental.
16. Rabbi Dov Linzer. acts of ahavas chinam such as this, acts that gives us hope for a better future and a restored Temple.
Note: Rabbinic support is given for the initiative of contributing to rebuild. The rabbis are not represented in all aspects of this campaign or website, and the perks were designed based on expert recommendation.
Backed by the speaker of Israel’s parliament, a group of rabbis has launched a crowdsourcing campaign to refurbish a landmark church torched 10 days ago, likely by Jewish extremists.
- Times of Israel
Participating Organizations- The Elijah Interfaith Institute