Today is May 24, 2018 -

Happy Anniversary Nostra Aetate

This week marked the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the II Vatican Council’s Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions. For Jews, the most important line of the document was that the death of Jesus could not be blamed on all the Jews living at the time nor on any Jews living today.

Fifty years after Nostra Aetate, Jews and Catholics certainly maintain differences of opinion, but relations have never been better. This should not be news to anyone in Northeastern New York because Bishop Hubbard’s support of the Jewish community predated Vatican II, and the Vatican considers our local Jewish-Catholic Dialogue to be the second best in the United States. Many of us participated in the interfaith celebration this past Sunday.

My take-away from Nostra Aetate is fairly simple. Catholic leadership changed a position and created an entire shift in its teaching. By removing the connection between the Jews and deicide and the associated anti-Semitism from the Church and its religious classes, young Catholics are not growing up with hatred. Two generations after Nostra Aetate, we are the beneficiaries of a new paradigm.

Our next interfaith program will be the Kristallnacht Interfaith Commemoration on Tuesday, November 10.

Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York

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