Dr. Nathan Krass, before a record congregation of 2,500, yesterday morning at Temple Emmanu-El, denied that the Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus. Dr. Krass argued:
“The greatest popular error in Christendom is the belief that the Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus and by a most illogical inference that the Jews are responsible for the crime of Calvary. Searching the records of the New Testament we are amazed to find that far from being condemned by the multitudes of Jews in Jerusalem at the Passover season, Jesus was acclaimed a great hero, palm branches were waved in his honor, and hosannahs
were chanted in appreciation of his personality.
“Jesus taught Jewish doctrines and celebrated the Jewish holidays and observed Jewish rites and ceremonies. He was in many things a conforming Jew and in some like other Jewish teachers unconventional in his interpretation of Jewish law and custom. His disciples were Jews, his friends and associates were Pharisees, those much maligned and little understood leaders of the Judaism of Jesus’s day. Therefore the Jews had no reason to crucify Jerus or to be particeps criminis in his death.
“The records in the New Testament which were written about a century after the time of the crucifixion and the material for which was gathered from oral tradition have confusing accounts of the trial and death of the Nazarene. The Jews were deprived of autonomous rule by the Roman Government in the time of Jesus. The right to inflict capital punishment was taken away from the Sanhedrin, the Jewish tribunal of justice, forty years prior to the death of Jesus.
“Pilate in the gospel of John clearly says in the 19th chapter that he has absolute power over Jesus. ‘Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee and have power to release thee, are the exact words not modified by peradventures lest a howling Hebrew mob might prevent him. Is it right for the popular error to remain unchallenged in Christendom that the Jews were responsible for the death of the Christian Savior?”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.