that annual calendrical period when Jews come closest to the Christian anthropology of sin. Aware of our sins, we wonder, liturgically, if the covenant will be withdrawn. Standing naked before God, awaiting judgment of whether we shall live or die next year, and dressed in shrouds (according to traditional custom), Jews say these words, which can mean nothing but: "Our Father, our King, respond to us with grace, for we have no good deeds to our credit. / Deal charitably and lovingly with us and save us." Bereft, we imagine, of all good deeds, so undeserving of salvation, we depend on grace to provide the divine charity and love that we require.
Comparing bedrock conceptions helps Jews understand Christianity and Judaism at the same time. Even as they discover classic statements of Christian thought as liturgical theologians explicitly express them, Jews grasp the depth of the same concepts as they are embedded implicitly in Jewish liturgy. And in this relationship between concept and liturgical practice, both Jews and Christians should be able to see where we differ and where we are the same.
The new era in Jewish-Christian relations has set before the Jewish community the challenge of coming to an appreciation of Christianity as a religious system that plays a positive role in God's designs for the world--a role that no longer takes supersessionist and persecutory stances toward Jews and Judaism. This renewed relationship challenges Jews and Christians to understand each other, not to minimize their differences but to appreciate them and even to use them as vehicles to greater self-understanding. The worship life of a community is one of the most public manifestations of its identity, and historically Jews have had negative images of Christian worship. I would like to