The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'Rabbi Jesus' controversial?

 Clara Maria Goldstein stands with
Clara Maria Goldstein stands with her painting of a 13-year-old Jesus reading the Torah. The painting was among those Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center asked her to remove from its lobby.
Clara Maria Goldstein, a member of a local artists’ guild, hung a series of 10 paintings that emphasized Jesus’ Jewish heritage in the Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse, Wis., lobby on Sept. 1. “Rabbi Jesus Said To Love One Another” depicts Jesus wearing a prayer shawl. Another shows a 13-year-old Jesus reading the Torah.

Two days later she received a call from a guild member who serves as a liaison to the hospital. “He said: ‘They are afraid that your artwork could be offensive. And they want it removed as soon as possible,’ ” Goldstein said. “It was so misunderstood.”

Goldstein intended the paintings to educate people about Christianity’s roots in Judaism and to cultivate respect among Jews and Christians. “There are differences,” she said. “So what? We can still like each other, we can still be respectful.”

Steven A. Meyer, pastor of Bridge of Life Lutheran Church, Holmen, Wis., learned of Goldstein’s work through newspaper coverage of the incident, which made national headlines. He asked for permission to use the artwork during worship and on bulletin covers. “After the service, several people came up to say how much they appreciated it,” he said. “We tend to have a narrow picture of Jesus. We perhaps have to move beyond an image we had aschildren.”

A representative of Gundersen refused to comment beyond a prepared statement. It read, in part: “While we acknowledge an artist’s right to express their personal beliefs, we don’t believe a hospital setting is the appropriate place for controversial artwork.”


ken kirchhevel

ken kirchhevel

Posted at 6:40 am (U.S. Eastern) 12/27/2008

  I am very happy to see and hear about Clara Goldstein,s work.  It is nice artwork and a great step in the right direction of accuracy in art.  I also am grateful for pastor Myers response, which was beautifully appropriate.  God Bless both of them!  I hope we all will follow their example of upholding the truth.  While "Jesus" as we know him {since we generally do not speak hebrew},  came as Emmanuel {God with us), he came as a descendant of Abraham Issac and Jacob who was Given the name Israel by God.  He also came as a descendant of Judah who offered himself as a slave to Joseph to save his brother Benjamin for his fathers sake. He also was a descendant of King David who wished he could have died so Absolom could have lived.  Well he died so all of us sheep gone astray might come back to the fold- God's fold.  He is not only a Jew but the Eternal Messiah King of the Jews, made a priest like melchizedek, without beginning or end of days!  When Joseph's brothers bowed before him in Egypt they did not recognize him because of his clothes and name and position, besides they thought he was dead!  So Yeshua has become so great, and his name changed and portrayed for so long in a way that he he was unrecognizable to his brothers. But that time is comming to an end!          HALLELUJAH!       Ken kkirchhevel@yahoo.com

Clara Goldstein

Clara Goldstein

Posted at 9:54 am (U.S. Eastern) 4/2/2009

Thank you for your kind words, Ken. I appreciate them.

Clara Maria Goldstein 

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February issue


Embracing diversity