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March 14, 2013 11:50 am
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Israel’s Chief Rabbinate on New Pope: We are Confident He Will “Strengthen and Develop” Ties Between Church and Jews

avatar by Zach Pontz

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New Pope Francis I aka Jorge Bergoglio in 2008. Photo: Wikipedia

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has commented Thursday on the accession of Pope Francis I. In a statement the Chief Rabbinate said:

“The dialogue between the Holy See and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel was welcomed and nurtured with personal involvement by the two previous Pontiffs. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel is confident that Pope Francis, whose good relations with the Jewish People are well known, will keep the same spirit, and strengthen and develop the Roman Catholic Church’s connections with the State of Israel and the Jewish People.”

The Chief Rabbinate extolled its relationship with the Holy See in recent years, stating that “there has been a rich and fruitful dialogue between the Holy See and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel on primary issues such as banning terrorism in God’s Name, the sanctity of life, the sanctity of the family unit, etc.” adding that “this dialogue has led to significant achievements over the years.”

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  • Chair of the New York Board of Rabbis Holocaust Education Committee, Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg has produced a PDF Holocaust Siddur and Haggadah that can be downloaded for free. The 140-page Siddur is available at

    http://www.jewishfreeware.org/downloads/YOM%20HASHOAH/FinalMASTER%203-7-%20ROSENBERGHOLOCAUST.pdf. The 66-page Haggadah is at http://www.holocausthaggadah.com.

    A prayer book, the Siddur includes a full traditional evening service for Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, in Hebrew and in English translations. Also included is an appendix with four suggested sample interfaith community programs and a large selection of readings, poetry, essays and other materials to help synagogues and community groups create their own programs. In Hebrew and English, the Hagaddah features essays, songs, and numerous explanations for a Holocaust Seder. Both were produced in honor of Rosenberg’s Holocaust survivor parents, Jacob and Rachel, as well as many family members who perished at the hands of the Nazis. I pray for the health and success of the new POPE.

  • Julian Clovelly

    As head of a small independent state, Francis must be gaining insight into how being a member of such a state feels. It is to be hoped that he extends this understanding to other small independent territories such as the State of Israel.

    He could however start with another independent territory, which as cardinal he seemed to believe should be overrun by his Argentinian birthplace, namely the Falkland Islands. If one people has a right to self determination then surely others do too. The principles of loving your neighbour and of not coveting your neighbours house must apply to everyone.

    The Falklands are over 500km from the Argentinian mainland and are not served by it. But Rome and the Italian State are just outside the doors of the Vatican and supply most of its power and services. Should the Italian State invade? The Falklands whose people recently voted by over fifteen hundred to just three to retain independence from Argentina are the rock on which the credibility of this papacy could founder. There are no grounds for negotiation. The British have an equal claim to Paris. No means no.

    If Francis cannot counsel his fellow Argentinians to accept that rejection, permanently, and stop the bullying of the Falklanders, how can his word be trusted in relation to other small territories? It may seem a small issue to many people but the English speaking peoples are predominantly Protestant and reconciliation with Catholicism is sometimes seen in a very similar light to reconciliation between Christianity and Judaism. The Catholic Armadas of Tudor times have not been forgotten or forgiven, let alone the Argentinian invasion.

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