Greek Jews protest tourism site promoting ‘Judas burning’ ritual

ATHENS, Greece (JTA) – The Greek Jewish community has protested to the Greek National Tourism Agency that its website and brochures listed the Easter practice of “Judas burning” as a recommended folk attraction.

“This custom perpetuates anti-Semitic feelings and it is characteristic that in other European countries it has almost vanished,” said the letter sent Friday by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece.

The tourism website tells travelers they “can observe the ancient ritual of ‘Judas Burning’ reviving: an effigy of Judas made by wood and straw – and filled with explosives – is set on fire!”

The same information was also included in a brochure handed out by the Greek Embassy in Washington, D.C., the letter said.

“We have repeatedly turned to the authorities, demanding that, in our country too, this custom be abolished,” the Jewish community said, noting that the Greek Orthodox Church has discouraged the practice for over a century.

Jewish groups see the practice as encouraging the belief that Jews killed Jesus, long a source of anti-Semitism. In some areas of Greece the practice has also been referred to as “Burning of the Jew.”

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