Mel Gibson's Passion and the Jews

The Mel Gibson film disturbed this writer--but offers the opportunity for greater interfaith understanding.

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Many Christian and ecumenical groups are working tirelessly on the project of mutual understanding. We Jews need to learn more about what certain symbols, like the Passion, mean to Christians. Christians need to learn why it is that Jews react with such fear at public expressions of anti-Semitism, especially in the context of a Passion play.

Each of us today, Jew and Christian alike, can do our part in bringing more understanding to our already blood-soaked world. Jews today, whether we live in Israel or in the Diaspora, we live in the world. It is not possible to live on our own isolated island, hermetically sealed from the rest of the world.

We all have Christian friends, colleagues and co-workers. We can use the moment of controversy about this film to increase tolerance and understanding.

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Marcie Lenk

Marcie Lenk is a Visiting Instructor in Boston University's Department of Religion. She is a doctoral candidate in the study of Early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism at Harvard University.