National Jewish Scholars Project

Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies

Baltimore, Maryland

[ The following statement appeared as a full page advertisement in The New York Times, Sunday, September 10, 2000, page 23, New England edition. ]



A Jewish Statement on Christians and Christianity

In recent years, there has been a dramatic and unprecedented shift in Jewish and Christian relations. Throughout the nearly two millennia of Jewish exile, Christians have tended to characterize Judaism as a failed religion or, at best, a religion that prepared the way for, and is completed in, Christianity. In the decades since the Holocaust, however, Christianity has changed dramatically. An increasing number of official Church bodies, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, have made public statements of their remorse about Christian mistreatment of Jews and Judaism. These statements have declared, furthermore, that Christian teaching and preaching can and must be reformed so that they acknowledge God’s enduring covenant with the Jewish people and celebrate the contribution of Judaism to world civilization and to Christian faith itself.

We believe these changes merit a thoughtful Jewish response. Speaking only for ourselves -- an interdenominational group of Jewish scholars -- we believe it is time for Jews to learn about the efforts of Christians to honor Judaism. We believe it is time for Jews to reflect on what Judaism may now say about Christianity. As a first step, we offer eight brief statements about how Jews and Christians may relate to one another.

Jews and Christians worship the same God. Before the rise of Christianity, Jews were the only worshippers of the God of Israel. But Christians also worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; creator of heaven and earth. While Christian worship is not a viable religious choice for Jews, as Jewish theologians we rejoice that, through Christianity, hundreds of millions of people have entered into relationship with the God of Israel.

Jews and Christians seek authority from the same book -- the Bible (what Jews call "Tanakh" and Christians call the "Old Testament"). Turning to it for religious orientation, spiritual enrichment, and communal education, we each take away similar lessons: God created and sustains the universe; God established a covenant with the people Israel, God’s revealed word guides Israel to a life of righteousness; and God will ultimately redeem Israel and the whole world. Yet, Jews and Christians interpret the Bible differently on many points. Such differences must always be respected.

Christians can respect the claim of the Jewish people upon the land of Israel. The most important event for Jews since the Holocaust has been the reestablishment of a Jewish state in the Promised Land. As members of a biblically based religion, Christians appreciate that Israel was promised -- and given -- to Jews as the physical center of the covenant between them and God. Many Christians support the State of Israel for reasons far more profound than mere politics. As Jews, we applaud this support. We also recognize that Jewish tradition mandates justice for all non-Jews who reside in a Jewish state.

Jews and Christians accept the moral principles of Torah. Central to the moral principles of Torah is the inalienable sanctity and dignity of every human being. All of us were created in the image of God. This shared moral emphasis can be the basis of an improved relationship between our two communities. It can also be the basis of a powerful witness to all humanity for improving the lives of our fellow human beings and for standing against the immoralities and idolatries that harm and degrade us. Such witness is especially needed after the unprecedented horrors of the past century.

Nazism was not a Christian phenomenon. Without the long history of Christian anti-Judaism and Christian violence against Jews, Nazi ideology could not have taken hold nor could it have been carried out. Too many Christians participated in, or were sympathetic to, Nazi atrocities against Jews. Other Christians did not protest sufficiently against these atrocities. But Nazism itself was not an inevitable outcome of Christianity. If the Nazi extermination of the Jews had been fully successful, it would have turned its murderous rage more directly to Christians. We recognize with gratitude those Christians who risked or sacrificed their lives to save Jews during the Nazi regime. With that in mind, we encourage the continuation of recent efforts in Christian theology to repudiate unequivocally contempt of Judaism and the Jewish people. We applaud those Christians who reject this teaching of contempt, and we do not blame them for the sins committed by their ancestors.

The humanly irreconcilable difference between Jews and Christians will not be settled until God redeems the entire world as promised in Scripture. Christians know and serve God through Jesus Christ and the Christian tradition. Jews know and serve God through Torah and the Jewish tradition. That difference will not be settled by one community insisting that it has interpreted Scripture more accurately than the other; nor by exercising political power over the other. Jews can respect Christians' faithfulness to their revelation just as we expect Christians to respect our faithfulness to our revelation. Neither Jew nor Christian should be pressed into affirming the teaching of the other community.

A new relationship between Jews and Christians will not weaken Jewish practice. An improved relationship will not accelerate the cultural and religious assimilation that Jews rightly fear. It will not change traditional Jewish forms of worship, nor increase intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews, nor persuade more Jews to convert to Christianity, nor create a false blending of Judaism and Christianity. We respect Christianity as a faith that originated within Judaism and that still has significant contacts with it. We do not see it as an extension of Judaism. Only if we cherish our own traditions can we pursue this relationship with integrity.

Jews and Christians must work together for justice and peace. Jews and Christians, each in their own way, recognize the unredeemed state of the world as reflected in the persistence of persecution, poverty, and human degradation and misery. Although justice and peace are finally God's, our joint efforts, together with those of other faith communities, will help bring the kingdom of God for which we hope and long. Separately and together, we must work to bring justice and peace to our world. In this enterprise, we are guided by the vision of the prophets of Israel:

It shall come to pass in the end of days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established at the top of the mountains and be exalted above the hills, and the nations shall flow unto it . . . and many peoples shall go and say, "Come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord to the house of the God of Jacob and He will teach us of His ways and we will walk in his paths." (Isaiah 2:2-3)

  • Dr. Peter W. Ochs

    University of Virginia

    Charlottesville, VA

    Dr. David Novak

    University of Toronto

    Toronto, Canada


    Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky

    The Divinity School, University of Chicago

    Chicago, IL


    Dr. Michael A. Signer

    University of Notre Dame

    South Bend, IN


    The phrase Dabru Emet comes from the verse: These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to one another, render true and perfect justice in your gates (Zechariah 8:16). For an expanded discussion of the issues explored in Dabru Emet, see Christianity in Jewish Terms edited by Tikva Frymer-Kensky, David Novak, Peter Ochs, and Michael Signer, Westview Press, 2000 ( christianityinjewishterms). Read opinions about Dabru Emet and discuss it with others at Beliefnet (www/ We wish to express our appreciation to the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies for providing the educational setting in which the work of this project has been conducted. For more information contact Rabbi David Fox Sandmel, Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies, 1316 Park Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210. 410-523-7227. 


    Signers of the Dabru Emet:

    Rabbi Ron Aigen
    Congregation Dorshei Emet - Reconstructionist Synagogue of Montreal - Quebec, Canada
    Rabbi Theodore R. Alexander
    Congregation B'nai Emunah / Lehrhaus Judaica
    San Francisco, CA
    Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
    Dean, Ziegler School of
    Rabbinic Studies
    Bel Air, CA
    Rabbi Shlomo Balter
    Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel
    Riverdale, NY
    Dr. Leora Batnitzky
    Princeton University
    Princeton, NJ
    Rabbi Donald Berlin
    Rabbi Emeritus-Temple Oheb Shalom-Balt./Acting Regional Dir.-UAHC Mid-Atl. Council - Washington, DC
    Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard
    CLAL, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership
    New York, NY
    Dr. David Blumenthal
    Emory University
    Atlanta, GA
    Rabbi Steven Bob
    Congregation Etz Chaim
    Lombard, IL
    Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton
    Congregation Beit Tikvah, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
    Baltimore, MD
    Rabbi Terry A. Bookman
    Temple Beth Am
    Miami, FL
    Dr. Eugene B. Borowitz
    Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
    New York, NY
    Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor
    Stephen Wise Free Synagogue
    New York, NY
    Rabbi Herbert Bronstein
    North Shore Congregation Israel
    Glencoe, IL
    Dr. Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus
    Wheaton College
    Norton, MA
    Rabbi Gustav Buchdahl
    Temple Emanuel
    Reisterstown, MD
    Rabbi Lee Bycel
    The Brandeis-Bardin Institute
    Brandeis, CA
    Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin
    Baltimore, MD
    Dr. Robert Chazan
    New York University
    New York, NY
    Rabbi Samuel Chiel
    Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Emanuel
    Newton Centre, MA
    Rabbi Kenneth Cohen
    Exec. Dir./Regional Dir., Seaboard Region, United Syn. For Conservative Judaism - Rockville, MD
    Dr. Norman Cohen
    Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
    New York, NY
    Rabbi Sharon Cohen-Anisfeld
    Yale Hillel
    New Haven, CT
    Dr. Michael J. Cook
    Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
    Cincinnati, OH
    Rabbi Neil Cooper
    Congregation Beth Hillel-Beth El
    Wynnewood, PA
    Rabbi Barry Cytron
    Director, The Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning
    St. Paul, MN
    Rabbi Harry K. Danziger
    Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Israel
    Memphis, TN
    Rabbi Mona Decker
    Bolton Street Synagogue
    Baltimore, MD
    Rabbi Barry Diamond
    Temple Emanu-El
    Dallas, TX
    Dr. Elliot Dorff
    University of Judaism
    Los Angeles, CA
    Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
    International Fellowship of Christians and Jews
    Chicago, IL
    Rabbi Joseph Edelheit
    Temple Israel
    Minneapolis, MN
    Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz
    President, Reconstructionist
    Rabbinical Assoc.
    West Orange, NJ
    Rabbi Joseph H. Ehrenkranz
    Executive Dir., Center for Christian - Jewish Understanding
    Fairfield, CT
    Dr. David Ellenson
    Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
    Los Angeles, CA
    Rabbi Jerome Epstein
    CEO & Exec. Vice Pres. - United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
    New York, NY
    Rabbi Seymour L. Essrog
    Adat Chaim Congregation
    Reisterstown, MD
    Rabbi Leonid Feldman
    Temple Emanu-El of Palm Beach
    Palm Beach, FL
    Rabbi Harvey Fields
    Wilshire Boulevard Temple
    Los Angeles, CA
    Rabbi Steven M. Fink
    Temple Oheb Shalom
    Baltimore, MD
    Dr. Paul Franks
    University of Notre Dame
    Notre Dame, IN
    Rabbi Barry Freundel
    Kesher Israel Congregation
    Washington, DC
    Rabbi Dr. Albert H. Friedlander
    Dean, Leo Baeck College - Rabbi Emeritus, Westminster Synagogue
    London, United Kingdom
    Rabbi Ronne Friedman
    Temple Israel
    Boston, MA
    Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer
    Rabbinical College
    Wyncote, PA
    Rabbi Dov Gartenberg
    Congregation Beth Shalom
    Seattle, WA
    Rabbi Laura Geller
    Temple Emanuel
    Beverly Hills, CA
    Dr. Robert Gibbs
    University of Toronto
    Toronto, Canada
    Dr. Neil Gillman
    Jewish Theological Seminary of America - New York, NY
    Rabbi Gary A. Glickstein
    Temple Beth Sholom
    Miami Beach, FL
    Rabbi Jay Goldstein
    Beth Israel Congregation
    Owings Mills, MD
    Dr. David Gordis
    Hebrew College
    Boston, MA
    Rabbi Sam Gordon
    Congregation Sukkat Shalom
    Wilmette, IL
    Dr. Michael Gottsegen
    CLAL, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership
    New York, NY
    Rabbi Irving Greenberg
    Pres., Jewish Life Network & Chair, United States Holocaust Memorial Council - New York, NY
    Dr. Michael R. Greenwald
    St. Lawrence University
    Canton, NY
    Rabbi Irwin Groner
    Congregation Shaarey Zedek
    Southfield, MI
    Rabbi Floyd Herman
    Har Sinai Congregation
    Baltimore, MD
    Rabbi Rachel Hertzman
    Hillel of Greater Baltimore
    Baltimore, MD
    Dr. Susannah Heschel
    Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College - Dartmouth, NH
    Rabbi Richard Hirsh
    Rabbinical Association
    Wyncote, PA
    Dr. Lawrence A. Hoffman
    Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
    New York, NY
    Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph
    Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
    Cincinnati, OH
    Rabbi Samuel Karff
    Congregation Beth Israel
    Houston, TX
    Dr. Jan Katzew
    Union of American Hebrew Congregations - New York, NY
    Dr. Menachem Kellner
    University of Haifa
    Haifa, Israel
    Dr. Steven Kepnes
    Colgate University
    Hamilton, NY
    Dr. Edward Kessler
    Executive Director, Centre for Jewish-Christian Relations
    Cambridge, United Kingdom
    Rabbi Leon Klenicki
    Dir., Dept. of Interfaith Affairs, Anti-Defamation League
    New York, NY
    Dr. Michael Kogan
    MontClair State University
    Charleston, SC
    Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff
    Temple Emanu-El, Pres. Central Conference of American
    Rabbis - Westfield, NJ
    Rabbi Ronald Kronish
    Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel
    Jerusalem, Israel
    Rabbi Irwin Kula
    Pres.- CLAL, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership
    New York, NY
    Rabbi Vernon Kurtz
    North Suburban Synagogue Beth El
    Highland Park, IL
    Rabbi Harold Kushner
    Rabbi Laureate, Temple Israel
    Natick, MA
    Rabbi Shira Lander
    Ecumenical Institute of St. Mary's Seminary and University
    Baltimore, MD
    Rabbi Aaron Landes
    B'nai Jeshurun
    Philadelphia, PA
    Dr. Nicholas de Lange
    University of Cambridge
    Cambridge, United Kingdom
    Dr. Ruth Langer
    Boston College
    Chestnut Hill, MA
    Rabbi Eric M. Lankin
    New Jersey Region-United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism - Linden, NJ
    Rabbi Barton G. Lee
    Hillel Jewish Student Center - Arizona State University - Tempe, AZ
    Rabbi Daniel Lehman
    The New Jewish High School of Greater Boston - Waltham, MA
    Rabbi Irving Lehrmann
    Temple Emanu-El
    Miami Beach, FL
    Rabbi Alan Lettofsky
    Cleveland College of Jewish Studies
    Cleveland, OH
    Rabbi Robert Levine
    Congregation Rodeph Sholom
    New York, NY
    Dr. Amy-Jill Levine
    Divinity School - Vanderbilt University - Nashville, TN
    Rabbi David Lincoln
    Park Avenue Synagogue
    New York, NY
    Rabbi Mark Loeb
    Beth El Congregation
    Baltimore, MD
    Dr. Charles Manekin
    University of Maryland - College Park
    College Park, MD
    Rabbi Marc Margolius
    Congregation Beth Am Israel
    Wynnewood, PA
    Rabbi Dow Marmur
    Rabbi Emeritus, Holy Blossom Temple
    Toronto, Canada
    Rabbi Jeffrey Marx
    Sha'arei Am: The Santa Monica Synagogue - Santa Monica, CA
    Rabbi Simeon J. Maslin
    Congregation Keneseth Israel
    Elkins Park, PA
    Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger
    Beth El Congregation
    Fort Worth, TX
    Rabbi Batsheva H. Meiri
    Temple Emanuel
    Reisterstown, MD
    Dr. Paul Mendes-Flohr
    Hebrew University / University of Chicago - Chicago, IL
    Rabbi Michael Menitoff
    Congregation Mishkan Tefila
    Chestnut Hill, MA
    Rabbi Paul J. Menitoff
    Central Conference of American
    Rabbis - New York, NY
    Rabbi Joel Meyers
    Executive Vice Pres.-The
    Rabbinical Assembly - New York, NY
    Dr. Alan Mittleman
    Dept. of Religion - Muhlenberg College - Allentown, PA
    Dr. Michael L. Morgan
    Indiana University
    South Bend, IN
    Dr. Hindy Najman
    University of Notre Dame
    South Bend, NY
    Rabbi Daniel Nevins, Adat Shalom Synagogue/Pres., Michigan Board of Rabbis - Farmington Hills, MI Rabbi Gavriel Newman
    Beth Jacob Synagogue
    Baltimore, MD
    Vanessa Ochs
    University of Virginia
    Charlottesville, VA
    Rabbi Michael Oppenheimer
    Suburban Temple-Kol Ami
    Beachwood, OH
    Rabbi Hayim Goren Perelmuter
    Co-Dir.-Bernardin Center for Chr. And Jew. Studies at Catholic Theological Union - Chicago, IL
    Rabbi Rex Perlmeter
    Baltimore Hebrew Congregation
    Baltimore, MD
    Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut
    Senior Scholar-Holy Blossom Temple
    Toronto, Canada
    Rabbi Daniel Polish
    Director, Commission on Social Action, Union of American Hebrew Congregations - New York, NY
    Dr. Ronald Price
    Dean, Institute of Traditional Judaism
    Teaneck, NJ
    Dr. Hilary Putnam
    Harvard University
    Cambridge, MA
    Dr. Ruth Anna Putnam
    Wellesley College
    Wellesley, MA
    Rabbi Arnold Rachlis
    University Synagogue
    Irvine, CA
    Dr. Randi Rashkover
    Cleveland College of Jewish Studies
    Cleveland, OH
    Rabbi John Rayner
    The Liberal Jewish Synagogue
    London, UK
    Rabbi Joel Rembaum
    Temple Berth Am
    Los Angeles, CA
    Rabbi Seth Daniel Riemer
    Congregation Adath Israel
    Middletown, CT
    Rabbi Emanuel Rose
    Congregation Beth Israel
    Portland, OR
    Rabbi Kenneth D. Roseman
    Temple Shalom - Southern Methodist University - Dallas, TX
    Rabbi Brant Rosen
    Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation - Evanston, IL
    Rabbi David Rosen
    Anti-Defamation League
    Jerusalem, Israel
    Rabbi Jeremy Rosen
    Director, Yakar
    London, United Kingdom
    Rabbi Gilbert Rosenthal
    New York, NY
    Rabbi Ronald Roth
    West End Synagogue
    Nashville, TN
    Rabbi Peter Rubinstein
    Central Synagogue
    New York, NY
    Rabbi Gila Colman Ruskin
    Chevrei Tzedek Congregation
    Baltimore, MD
    Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin
    The Community Synagogue
    Port Washington, NY
    Dr. Norbert Samuelson
    Arizona State University
    Tempe, AZ
    Rabbi David Sandmel
    Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies - Baltimore, MD
    Rabbi David Saperstein
    Dir., Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism - Washington, DC
    Dr. Marc Saperstein
    George Washington University
    Washington, DC
    Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
    Congregation Beth - El Zedeck
    Indianapolis, IN
    Rabbi Dennis Sasso
    Congregation Beth-El Zedeck
    Indianapolis, IN
    Rabbi Herman Schaalman
    Emanuel Congregation
    Chicago, IL
    Rabbi Mark Schiftan
    Congregation Ohabai Sholom
    Nashville, TN
    Rabbi Vivian E. Schirn
    Or Hadash Reconstructionist Congregation - Ft. Washington, PA
    Rabbi Harold Schulweis
    Valley Beth Shalom
    Encino, CA
    Rabbi Sidney Schwarz
    The Washington Inst. For Jewish Leadership & Values - Rockville, MD
    Rabbi Kenneth I. Segel
    Temple Beth Israel
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller
    Hillel Jewish Student Center
    Los Angeles, CA
    Rabbi Isaac Serotta
    Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism - Highland, IL
    Dr. Claudia Setzer
    Manhattan College
    New York, NY
    Rabbi Charles P. Sherman
    Temple Israel
    Tulsa, OK
    Rabbi Michael Siegel
    The Anshe Emet Synagogue
    Chicago, IL
    Rabbi Julian Sinclair
    University of Cambridge
    Cambridge, United Kingdom
    Rabbi Merle Singer
    Temple Beth El of Boca Raton
    Boca Raton, FL
    Rabbi Ronald B. Sobel
    Congregation Emanu-El
    New York, NY
    Rabbi Reena Spicehandler
    Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
    Philadelphia, PA
    Rabbi Earl S. Starr
    Temple De Hirsch Sinai
    Seattle, WA
    Rabbi Jacob Staub
    Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
    Wyncote, PA
    Rabbi David Straus
    Main Line Reform Temple
    Wynnewood, PA
    Rabbi Alvin M. Sugarman
    Hebrew Benevolent Congregation (The Temple) - Atlanta, GA
    Rabbi Joshua S. Taub
    The Temple-Congregation B'nai Jehudah - Kansas City, MO
    Dr. David A. Teutsch President,
    Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Wyncote, PA
    Rabbi Lennard Thal
    Union of American Hebrew Congregations - New York, NY
    Dr. Geza Vermes
    Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies, University of Oxford; Fellow of the British Academy - Oxford, U.K.
    Rabbi Roy Walter
    Temple Emanu-El
    Houston, TX
    Rabbi Michael Wasserman
    Beth El Congregation
    Phoenix, AZ
    Rabbi Sheila P. Weinberg
    Jewish Community of Amherst
    Amherst, MA
    Rabbi Martin S. Weiner
    Sherith Israel Congregation
    San Francisco, CA
    Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg
    Beth Tfiloh Congregation
    Baltimore, MD
    Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf
    K.A.M. Isaiah Israel Congregation
    Chicago, IL
    Dr. Elliot Wolfson
    New York University
    New York, NY
    Rabbi David Wolpe
    Sinai Temple
    Los Angeles, CA
    Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie
    President, Union of American Hebrew Congregations - New York, NY
    Rabbi Joel H. Zaiman
    Chizuk Amuno Congregation
    Baltimore, MD
    Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman
    President, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
    Cincinnati, OH
    Dr. Laurie Zoloth
    San Francisco State University
    San Francisco, CA
    Institutional affiliation for identification purposes.