Seeking Triunity: Jewish-Christian Worship as the Next Wave of Relations
Whitley, Rachael E.
Traditionally, Judaism has constructed barriers to separate itself from Christianity. Anti-Christian apologetics fill the Talmud, and, as a result, function as the fundamental premise for centuries of Christian-themed responsa, spanning time and place from Maimonides to Moshe Feinstein. Considered within the broader context of the halakha, this approach follows similar patterns of separation in Jewish tradition. Much of the halakha, for example, functions to divide opposites—tamei from tahor and kodesh from hol (Lev. 10:10); therefore, when Leviticus says that God has “set you apart from the peoples,” (20:26), the concept of separation broadens to encapsulate a functional role of the Torah as way of preserving the halakhic Jewish culture from the non-halakhic Gentile way-of-life. After nearly two thousand years of Jewish development as a religious minority living in primarily Christian territories, this segregation—fueled by textual support for dissociation and an often tense history of relations—triggered alienation between the two sibling religions. However, using historical circumstances as context and recent trends in Jewish-Christian relations as a foundation, Jewish religious approaches to Christianity should be re-evaluated. As the social and intellectual realms verge on harmony, the time for religious cooperation commences. While many potential religious undertakings exist as options for Jews and Christians going forward, joint worship, as this paper will examine, offers significant potential for forming bonds in the next phase of dialogue.