Jerusalem is the most fascinating place on earth– even moreso than New York City– because human beings representing ancient antagonisms and unresolved tensions literally walk side-by-side down the old stone streets. The encounters are not always happy.
Last week some young Orthodox Jews spat at Christian clergy while walking in the Old City. In response, David J. Michaels, the director of intercommunal affairs for B’nai B’rith, wrote the following open letter of apology [excerpted below, with link] to Christian leaders in Jerusalem.
I like to lift up this kind of news. Words of apology are not a spectacle– they don’t titillate, so they rarely get attention from the mainstream media. However, when words of apology are expressed, the world changes for the better. The power of words that seek reconciliation is a power that starts small, like a mustard seed, and grows.
An open letter to Christian leaders in Jerusalem
As a Jew, especially an Orthodox one, I am ashamed that so-called “religious” people would spit on clergy of other faiths. The following letter has been sent to over a dozen of the most senior church leaders in Jerusalem, with copies to officials at major Christian bodies abroad.
I write with a request: for your forgiveness. As a representative of the oldest Jewish communal organization – B’nai B’rith International, which includes members of many backgrounds in over 50 countries, including Israel, where we have been present in Jerusalem since 1888 – I feel obliged to express my revulsion over new reported incidents of spitting at Christian clergy in certain areas of the Holy City. I feel especially obliged to do so as an Orthodox Jew….