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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 15, 2006 / 17 Iyar, 5766

As Father Coughlin spins in his grave

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There was no mistaking the sense of occasion when the Catholic archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, delivered his first address to the city's Jewish community last week. Hundreds came to hear him, including the heads of Boston's leading Jewish organizations, rabbis from every Jewish denomination, and media secular and sectarian.


The cardinal didn't say anything controversial or unexpected. No one imagined he would. He expressed strong support for Catholic-Jewish cooperation, emphasized Christianity's Jewish roots, and spoke feelingly about the Christian obligation to fight anti-Semitism. All familiar themes. So why all the attention and interest?


After all, it has been more than 40 years since the Catholic Church adopted Nostra Aetate ("In Our Time"), its landmark declaration condemning anti-Semitism and repudiating the centuries-old teaching that Jews were eternally cursed for the death of Jesus. It has been 20 years since Pope John Paul II embraced Rabbi Elio Toaff in the Great Synagogue of Rome and extolled Jews as the "elder brothers" of Christians. Over the last few decades, Catholic-Jewish dialogue and reconciliation have become such prominent features on the religious landscape that anyone who came of age in the 1970s or later could be forgiven for assuming that Catholic anti-Semitism had always been limited to the crackpots on the fringe.


That's true even in a city like Boston, which in the 1930s and '40s was intensely anti-Semitic -- so much so that by 1943, violent attacks on Jews and vandalism of Jewish property were reported to be "an almost daily occurrence." Mayor James Michael Curley called Boston "the strongest Coughlin city in America" — a reference to Father Charles Coughlin, the Jew-hating Michigan priest who broadcast his poison over the nation's airwaves and whose anti-Semitic paper, "Social Justice," was hawked on the steps of Boston's Catholic churches.


Today, that entrenched Catholic anti-Semitism has all but vanished, swept away by the revolution that Nostra Aetate launched.


In a city where priests once refused to condemn the beating of Jews, Catholic clergy now go to great lengths to promote interfaith understanding. Boston College, a leading Catholic university, is home to the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning, which is committed to nurturing relationships between Christians and Jews that are based "not merely on toleration but on full respect and mutual enrichment." On the website of the Boston Archdiocese is a wealth of material on Catholic-Jewish relations; one recommended resource is an online study guide to "Nostra Aetate" prepared by the Anti-Defamation League — a Jewish organization with which the archdiocese has an active partnership.


This change in the church's attitude toward Jews has been extraordinary, and O'Malley made a point of underscoring its theological significance — and permanence. "It is for us Catholics a part of our response to G-d," he said. "Hence there can never be a question of retreating from Nostra Aetate."


But, he acknowledged, not everyone has gotten that message.


He told a story from his days as a young priest working with immigrants in Washington, D.C., when some members of the Anti-Defamation League came to see him about anti-Semitism in the Hispanic community. Impossible, O'Malley told them. These immigrants came from remote villages in El Salvador and most of them had never met a Jew. They would have no reason to think ill of Jews. "I assured the men that they were barking up the wrong tree, and sent them off with a don't-call-me-I'll-call-you."


A few days later, at a meeting with parishioners to make plans for Holy Week, O'Malley was dumbfounded when one man proposed to celebrate Holy Saturday with la quema del judio — the burning of the Jew. "Although Spanish is almost my first language," he recalled the other night, "I had him repeat the phrase two or three times, such was my disbelief and horror." In many Central American villages, it turned out, there was a custom of marking the day before Easter by hanging an effigy of Judas and blowing it up with fireworks: the burning of the Jew.


O'Malley vetoed the proposal. Then he called the ADL and asked for help in educating his parishioners. The result was a Passover seder conducted in Spanish, to which everyone in the parish was invited on Holy Thursday following the Mass of the Lord's Supper.


"The whole community was fascinated to see the connection between the seder meal and the Eucharist," O'Malley said. "After that, no one ever asked again to burn any Jews."


Remarkable as the transformation of recent decades has been, it will take more time than that to scrub away the stain left by the 1,900 years that preceded them. Against the long sweep of Christian history, and the even longer sweep of Jewish history, the 40 years since Nostra Aetate have been but a brief, blessed moment. It is too soon to take it all for granted. Too soon to be nonchalant about the teaching of brotherhood that replaced the teaching of contempt. That is why Cardinal O'Malley's speech commanded such interest. And why the finest thing about it was that none of it came as a surprise.

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Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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