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September 3, 2013 10:03 am

Pope Wishes Jews a Happy New Year

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Pope Francis. Photo: Casa Rosada/Wikimedia Commons In a meeting with global Jewish leaders at the Vatican, Pope Francis I wished Jews around the world a sweet and peaceful new year ahead of the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

During the private informal meeting, attended by members of the World Jewish Congress and its Latin American affiliates, Pope Francis spoke extensively about the situation in Syria, the need for protection of Christian minorities in the Middle East, and Jewish-Christian relations, specifically mentioning bans on kosher slaughter in Poland.

Pope Francis reiterated his statement from last June that a “Christian cannot be an anti-Semite” and that “to be good a Christian it is necessary to understand Jewish history and traditions.”

“Pope Francis’ leadership has not only reinvigorated the Catholic Church but also given a new momentum to relations with Judaism. Never in the past 2,000 years have relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people been so good,” WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said in a statement.

Since becoming pontiff in March, Pope Francis has made Jewish-Christian relations a priority, continuing the legacy of his predecessors. He has met several times with Jewish leaders and has announced tentative plans to visit Israel next year.

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