Cardinal Dolan took less than two minutes to deliver a message of unity between Catholics and Jews during Shabbat Service at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan May 28.
“What is somberly extraordinary for this evening is that I come at a very ominous time for you,” he said. “The recent hate crimes and vitriol shown against you, my esteemed elder brothers and sisters in the faith, is frightening, deplorable, nauseating.
“Yes, I know people of many creeds and races have recently been targeted by this animosity, including us Catholics, but the Jewish community always seems to bear the brunt, historically and right now.
“Now my parents, back in our neighborhood in St. Louis, raised me to let neighbors in trouble know that we love them, we stand with them, and that we’re here to help. And that, my Jewish neighbors, is what this Catholic friend down the block, simply says to you tonight.”
Temple Emanu-El is located at East 65th Street, near Fifth Avenue. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is on Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st streets.
Rabbi Joshua Davidson said Cardinal Dolan called him on Wednesday afternoon and asked if he might join his congregation for worship on Friday evening. Cardinal Dolan was joined at the Shabbat Service by Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Colacicco and Father Brian McWeeney, director of the archdiocesan Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
“Indeed, it is the greatest of gifts to have friends who are there when you need them, when you don’t even have to ask,” said Rabbi Davidson in introducing Cardinal Dolan to his congregation at Temple Emanu-El and a livestream audience.
“Cardinal Dolan is a friend,” the rabbi said. “That is why he called. That is why he is here.”
Anti-Semitic hate crimes, threats and protests are rising in New York City and around the world, the increase coming in recent weeks after last month’s fighting in the Middle East between the Israelis and Palestinians. A ceasefire halted the violence May 21.
“Here there are spurious claims made in the halls of academia and in Congressional and diplomatic chambers casting Israel as the villain of the Middle East, the parties solely responsible for the failure of peace, as if Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Iran and Hezbollah didn't exist,” Rabbi Davidson said.
“Yes, the state of Israel can and must must do more to address the human rights and national aspirations of the Palestinian people. It cannot, however, solve the conflict on its own, and in ways both subtle and gross we are witnessing how a hateful obsession with Israel very easily descends into a hatred of Jews. But we do have friends here for us when we need them. We are not alone.”
Cardinal Dolan and Rabbi Davidson briefly met with the media before the service.
“There’s too much fracture, there’s too much division and when one of us is in trouble, we all feel the sting,” Cardinal Dolan said.
“I’m a New Yorker and a proud citizen of a city where religious friendship and respect has always been the hallmark,” the cardinal said.
Cardinal Dolan said the spirit of friendship between Catholics and Jews in New York was something he inherited.
“My predecessors since Cardinal Spellman, Cardinal Cooke, Cardinal O’Connor, Cardinal Egan, all cherished the historic friendship between Jews and Catholics in New York,” he said. “I certainly inherited it and I love it and I relish it. I really do everything I can to strengthen it.”