I have lived as a working volunteer with a wonderful monastic community of contemplative Protestant nuns in Switzerland. During my years with the sisters I have lived their heavy and solemn feeling during the liturgies of Good Friday.
Still . . . what is a blogging Jew to post on Good Friday?
Relations have improved in our times, and thank God for the State of Israel.
Historically, however, Holy Week has been a dangerous time for us.
One knight in the First Crusade (1096) wrote, "Behold we journey a long way to seek the idolatrous shrine and to take vengeance upon the Muslims. But here are the Jews dwelling among us, whose ancestors killed him and crucified him groundlessly. Let us take vengeance first upon them. Let us wipe them out as a nation."
These Crusaders on their way to the Holy Land did indeed slaughter entire Jewish communities in Rhineland cities.
Deicide was not the only charge. As recently as the early 20th century, pogroms erupted during Holy Week in Eastern European and Russia when rumors spread about Jewish "crimes." Inflamed by outlandish accusations such as the claim that Jews killed Christian children and used their blood to make matsa for Passover, unruly gangs searched out Jews to kill and maim.
Two crucifixes that I will never forget are NOT IN ISRAEL but in the Czech Republic.
This famous statue on the bridge in Prague is topped by Hebrew (!) letters spelling "Kadosh kadosh kadosh Adonai tsevaot," -- "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts."
(Well, this photo is from my second visit in 2006. By then someone had thankfully removed one and a half letters from the name of God, making it no longer his name.)
I was even more shocked when we found the explanation in the Jewish museum:
A long time ago some Jew was falsely accused of writing something wrong in a letter. He was arrested and as a punishment was made to pay for these gold Hebrew letters on the crucifix.
Normally the sign says INRI.
But not in the medieval cathedral of Nymburk in central Bohemia.
There it was spelled out quite clearly: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.
And the blood drips.
Yes, Good Friday is a difficult day for both Christians and Jews.