Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Every Day Remembrance Day

Onward, Christian solders, Marching as to war, With the Cross of Jesus Going on before”! Years ago my wife recounted how our pre-school daughter marched up and down the driveway that separated us from our neighbors singing that song. She quickly brought her in! Our neighbors were Jews, and as Jews, very aware of the “Cross of Jesus” and its historical significance. Simon Wiesenthal, Holocaust survivor, Nazis hunter, and author of numerous books including Every Day Remembrance Day: A Chronicle of Jewish Martyrdom recounts the history and "witness" of the professing Church. He also seems to unconscientiously explain the reason Jews (including himself) have yet to recognize their Messiah:

As this calendar shows, the story of the persecution of the Jews has always been directed by Christians: first of all by the Roman Catholic Church, then by the Orthodox Church. These Churches plunder the Bible, the most precious element of Jewish life, the unique treasure of Jewish identity, and use it for their own ends. … The official theology of the Catholic Church considers Rome “the true Jerusalem” and the Church “the true Israel.” In the eyes of the Church the Jews forfeited their history and their means of salvation by killing Jesus. … The history of the persecution of the Jews is — as will become clear from this calendar — at the same time a history of Christianity. The acts of persecution against the Jews were from the very beginning acts of revenge against that part of the Jewish community which refused to recognize Jesus (even though the first Christians were actually Jews) (Simon Wiesenthal, Every Day Remembrance Day, p. 9, emphasis added).

The aged author stared back at me from the cover of the Jerusalem Post, September 22, 2005. As I scanned the front page in a Jerusalem book store, I insensitively recommend Wiesenthal’s chronicle of Jewish martyrdom to the young girl who, only moments before, had been so courteous and helpful. In a passionate but precise Oxford intonation, she blurted out: “I DON’T NEED THE BOOK, I’VE LIVED IT!” For one brief moment, I saw what lies latent in every Jewish soul.

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