Richard Harvey, a leading Jewish Messianic theologian and activist, has initiated a campaign to have the “Judensau” – an anti-Jewish depiction – removed from the facade of the Wittenberg church in Germany.

judensau

The city of Wittenberg contains a Judensau (Jew-Pig) from 1305, on the facade of the Stadkirche, the church where Martin Luther preached. It portrays a rabbi who looks under the sow's tail, and other Jews drinking from its teats. An inscription reads "Rabini Shem hamphoras," gibberish which presumably bastardises the "shem ha-meforasch" (the explicit name [of God]). The sculpture is one of many still remaining in Germany.

In Vom Schem Hamphoras (1543), Luther comments on the Judensau sculpture at Wittenberg, echoing the anti-Jewish language of the image and locating the Talmud in the sow's bowels:

“Here on our church in Wittenberg a sow is sculpted in stone. Young pigs and Jews lie suckling under her. Behind the sow a rabbi is bent over the sow, lifting up her right leg, holding her tail high and looking intensely under her tail and into her Talmud, as though he were reading something acute or extraordinary, which is certainly where they get their Shem hamphoras."

The sculpture continues to cause offence and defame Jewish people and their faith. It needs to be removed to another location so it is not publicly displayed on the external wall of the church, and properly housed and explained elsewhere.

To continue reading and to sign the petition, see here

Richard Harvey also composed a powerful poem set to music. The words of the poem are:

Lament over the Wittenberg Judensau

I sit on the steps by the side of the church
And I weep
In my heart I descend to despair and to rage
And I weep

My mouth cannot speak the unsayable words
As I ponder the depths of the pain and the shock
The horror and the rage and the anger and trauma
And I weep

A bell sounds the hour
The children pass by
The tourists and cyclists
The men at their work
The women on their way
And I weep

How could centuries of hatred be summed up
In such an obscene cartoon, a murderous joke
A scandalous, depraved image
Making fun of my people, my self, my soul, my Messiah

How could Israel be so profaned among the nations
That the name of God himself, ha shem mephoras
Be turned into the Shame meant for us
I weep

How can those who call themselves followers of Messiah
Worship in this place
when on the wall is such an
obscene insult to His people?

How can those who say
That Jesus Christ was born a Jew”
Make Jewish babies breastfeed from a pig?
How can Jews believe the Jews’ Good News
When this building shows them wallowing in pig’s filth
and excrement?
I weep

How could I worship God in such a place that has been so
desecrated by such filth?
How could God be present in such a place where His
name is so dishonoured?

Cleanse this place O Lord, redeem it, set it free from its
legacy of hatred, contempt and abuse of your own
character and people.

Change this place, O Lord, to be a place where your
Gospel is truly proclaimed,
And Jewish people could feel welcomed, not despised
And Yeshua himself, the Jewish Messiah, could dwell in
this place by your Spirit’s presence.

For godly grief produces repentance that leads to
salvation and brings no regret
But worldly grief produces death

Lord, have mercy on your people
on your people Israel,
and on your church
Pardon us, forgive us, renew us, cleanse us, heal us,
reconcile us, restore us

The poem can be heard recited here