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Inside the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS - Grauesel

Rabbis Contribute to Restoring the Church of the Multiplication

Gesture Aims to Reaffirm Friendship Between Jews and Christians

The Church of the Multiplication in Taghba, damaged by a fundamentalist Zionist group last June 18, will be repaired with the contribution of Jewish rabbis.

The church, built on the site of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and managed today by Benedictine monks, was set on fire with the consequent destruction to the exterior atrium. However, the mosaics of the floor, dating back to the 5th century, remained intact.

In addition to the fire, red graffiti was found of a verse in Hebrew against “false gods,” which were interpreted as the “signature “ of an extremist Zionist group. Shortly after, 16 youths, belonging to the ultra-orthodox Yitzhar faction, were arrested and then released. Inspired by a saying of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810) – “If you believe you can destroy, believe that you can also repair” – a group of Rabbis launched a campaign for the complete reconstruction of the church of Taghba – an operation that intends to reaffirm the friendship that exists between Jews and Christians after the episode.

The initiative met with the consensus not only of the Rabbis but also of the Jewish community in general and of individual citizens, as well as of the Christian community of the Holy Land and of other parts of the world.

According to Alon Goshen-Gottstein, founder and Director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute, recognized internationally as one of the most eminent figures committed to interreligious dialogue, the Jewish contribution to the reconstruction of Taghba is something that goes beyond the restoration of good relations between different religious groups.

“The initiative turns out to have been important for all those who felt the need to affirm a different kind of Judaism than that of the arsonists,” Goshen-Gottstein wrote in an editorial published in the Huffington Post. “It has become a vote in favor of a peace-seeking Judaism, that affirms and recognizes others, a Judaism that recognizes that without proper treatment of minorities, it loses the basis for its own existence.”

In a separate editorial, he stressed: “We Jews, who continue to suffer until today, following the destruction of our Temple, must be supremely sensitive to the sanctity of all places of worship and of all religions.”

“Now we are invited to extend this love and the lessons of burnt houses of worship beyond Judaism, to all. In this spirit, we continue to pray for the rebuilding of the Temple.”

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On the Web:

To learn more about the campaign, go to: https://www.mimoona.co.il/Projects/2748&ChangeLang=English 

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