Rabbi Aaron Panken Responds to Greek Orthodox Seminary Firebombing

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., President, writes:

On Wednesday evening, February 25, in Jerusalem, a room in a Greek Orthodox seminary dormitory was firebombed. Luckily, no one was hurt, though the results could easily have been much worse. While it is still unclear who the criminal was who perpetrated this awful action, it is most likely the result of Jewish religious fundamentalists who seek to exclude others from the Old City and Jerusalem in general. The perpetrators, only known as "Tag Mechir" (Price Tag) have been burning and defacing mosques and churches throughout Israel and the territories. There has been a strong reaction to these acts but police have failed to apprehend this group.

On Thursday morning, February 26, Sarah Bernstein, Executive Director of the Jerusalem Center for Jewish - Christian Relations and the wife of our Mandel Provost, Dr. Michael Marmur, arranged for a solidarity visit with the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem. His Beatitude Theophilos III received us warmly and thanked us for our expression of sympathy and support, following this despicable act. We agreed that religion ought to be a force that unites people in holy acts, and helps make the world a better, more tolerant and safer place. And we forged a link that will allow us to work together to ensure that our faiths do not divide us, but, rather, bring us together in sacred purpose. 

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