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October 2, 2013 11:20 am

Argentine Rabbi Makes History With Vatican Visit Over Sukkot

avatar by Zach Pontz

Rabbi Abraham Skorka. Photo: Flickr.

Pope Francis hosted his close friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka from Argentina for several days at his Vatican residence last week, La Stampa’s Vatican Insider reported.

According to the website, the visit was of an historic nature:

“Never before in the history of Christian-Jewish relations have a Pope and a Rabbi celebrated their friendship by living in the Vatican together for several days, sharing all meals, including on two Jewish festivals and the Sabbath at which the Rabbi said prayers in Hebrew, and discussing what more  they can do together to promote dialogue and peace in the world.”

Rabbi Skorka spent several days during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot at the Vatican guesthouse (Santa Marta) where the modest Pope lives. The Pope is Argentinian and  has known the rabbi  since 1997 when he became coadjutor bishop of Buenos Aires archdiocese.

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In an interview with the Vatican Insider, Rabbi Skorka said, “I eat with him at breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.  He cares for me, and controls everything regarding my food to makes sure it is all kosher, and according to my religious tradition.  These are festive days, and I have to say certain prayers at meals and, I expand the last prayer and translate it. He accompanies me together with the others at table -his secretaries and a bishop, and they all say ‘Amen’ at the end.”

Rabbi Skorka also said that the pair hope to travel to Israel together.

“We are dreaming of traveling together to Israel soon, and the Pope is working on this subject,” the Rabbi said. “I dream of embracing him at the Kotel, or Wailing Wall, and I will accompany him to Bethlehem, in the Palestinian territories.  His presence can help a lot at this moment when the peace talks are starting again,” he said.

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