The members of the Helsinki Consultation on Jewish Continuity in the Body of Messiah held the sixth gathering of the Helsinki Consultation in Krakow from June 23 until 27, 2017. The participants issued the following statement.

Jewish followers of Jesus and the wounds of memory:
source of healing or further trauma?

We have gathered in Krakow, Poland surrounded by witnesses to both a beautiful and tragic past. So too we have been reminded of King Casimir’s welcome of the Jews, the rich achievements of Jewish culture, and its engagement with Polish society over many centuries, including the presence of Jews within the Church.

It is precisely in this ambivalent context of blessing and woundedness that we have sought to pursue our reflections on our place as Jewish believers in Yeshua in the living body of the Messiah. As Jews, we remember with our people the deep wounds received from the hands of Christians, sometimes with the assent of church authorities. We also remember that many Christians have been prey to persecutions across the ages, most acutely in the last century. We remember too that we Jews can be agents of violence and cause of suffering. Finally, we remember that we are part of the body of the Christ, who is the source and agent of all reconciliation. It is the paradox and mystery of our faith that healing and forgiveness come forth from the wounds of the Messiah on the cross.

Remembering has led us back to the wound that is the separation between the Church and the major part of the Jewish people. This has hindered the full realization of the body of Christ. As Jewish disciples of Jesus, we are profoundly affected by this separation. We are aware that our dual identity has sometimes proven a stumbling block on the path to reconciliation and unity. The misguided zeal of some Jewish followers of Jesus has historically even furthered mutual rejection between members of the Church and the Jewish people. But we have also witnessed great figures among the Jewish followers of Jesus who have fought antijudaism, antisemitism and their legacy, and who have worked tirelessly for reconciliation. They understood how healing the wounds of memory demands that the Church affirm the ongoing election of the Jewish people and the richness of its tradition. They believed also that the Church should welcome the expression of Jewish identity within her life.

Inspired by these great witnesses, we are convinced that a corporate Jewish expression is essential to the integrity of the entire body of the Messiah. The acceptance of this Jewish presence in its midst is itself an aspect of needed repentance from antijudaism and antisemitism, and a decision to break with its destructive legacy. This acceptance will also contribute to disclosing the authentic nature of the body of Christ, which is rooted in Israel’s election and the Jewishness of its Messiah. We Jewish followers of Yeshua seek to be instruments of Christ’s power for this healing of the wounds of memory and for reconciliation within his divided body.

Signed: Antoine Levy, Boris Balter, David Neuhaus, Ephraim Radner, Etienne Veto, Lisa Loden, Mark Kinzer, Richard Harvey, Svetlana Panich, Vladimir Pikman

28 June 2017, Kraków, Poland