Bookshelf of old copies of J. Previous names of this publication have included Emanu-El and Jewish Bulletin. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)
Previous names of this publication have included Emanu-El and The Jewish Bulletin. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)

Catholic anti-Semitism (1962); Early interfaith outreach (1992)

comic shows a guy from the federation coming to someone's door. the guy who answers the door says, "But, Sir, my daughter already donated ... in Sunday School."
Editorial cartoon from May 11, 1962

May 4, 1962

Pope’s council may remove old anti-Jewish stigma

Rome (JTA) — The Ecumenical Council, to be convened here by Pope John XXIII next October, probably will discuss ways of removing from the Jews the stigma of “slayers of God,” Augustin Cardinal Bea told representatives of the press here.

Cardinal Bea was the confessor of the late Pope Pius XII, and is now president of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Union of Christians, planning the agenda for the Ecumenical Council.

The Catholic Church, said the Cardinal, recognizes that a principal reason for anti-Semitic persecutions through the ages has been the fact that the Jewish people were blamed by Christians for the crucifixion of Jesus. It is high time for this stigma to be removed, the Cardinal said.

May 5, 1992

JCCs must reach out, include interfaith families, prof says

Ask yourself: How many places that you intuitively fear would you voluntarily visit?

When sociologist Egon Mayer posed that question to a roomful of delegates at last week’s Jewish Community Center Association biennial conference here, everyone laughed.

The answer, after all, seemed obvious. We try to avoid places that make us uneasy — right?

“Yet we are disappointed that more interfaith families don’t come to the Jewish community centers or Jewish this or Jewish that,” Mayer pointed out.

And why should they, he asked. “Quite frankly, if I felt the way these people describes themselves feeling, I’d stay as far away as possible.”

According to Mayer, a professor of sociology at Brooklyn College who has written a number of papers on intermarriage, studies show that many members of interfaith couples are apprehensive about Jewish communal settings — fearful that someone is going to make them feel guilty or inadequate.

Some believe they’re somehow not “good enough” as families, he said. And the Jewish partner may think he or she is not measuring up as a Jew, or that the Jewish community is going to attempt to influence his or her non-Jewish spouse to convert.

Last week’s workshop — one of dozens at the JCC conference — focused on preparing JCCs to reach out to interfaith families, and Mayer was trying to make a point: If Jewish community centers want to make the growing numbers of interfaith families in America feel welcome, “we have to break down the barriers of anxiety and fear.”

J. Staff