Jewish Art Challenges the Taboo of Jesus
Throughout history, Jews have traditionally shunned Jesus and his gospel. And while the Holy Land might be his accepted birthplace, for Jews in the modern state of Israel there is often resistance to learning about or even acknowledging Christianity. This stems mainly from a fear of centuries old anti-Semitism, especially in Europe, where the crucifixion of Jesus was used as an excuse to persecute Jews.
“We are talking about a 2,000-year-old tension between Judaism and Christianity and the fact that anti-Semitism grew in Christian thought and theology,” said the exhibition’s curator, Amitai Mendelsohn.
Mendelsohn said he was surprised at just how many Jewish artists throughout history, and today in Israel, have used Jesus and Christian themes as inspirations for their work.
It is a delicate subject for Jews everywhere, including in Israel, but artists by nature “are attracted to something that is forbidden for them,” he said.