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October 2, 2013 11:20 am

Argentine Rabbi Makes History With Vatican Visit Over Sukkot

avatar by Zach Pontz

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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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  • Williamsburg gal

    This business about the stolen kalim & utensils from the Bais Hamikdosh being secretly held by the Vatican is pretty silly if you think about it.The theft took place in the year 70CE. The thieves were the Romans, Christian- ity was in its infancy, & the Vatican as such didn’t come into existence until hundreds of years later. Even if Josephus was right & the items were actually brought to Rome (as suggested by the images on the Arch of Titus), considering that Rome was repeatedly sacked & looted by barbarian tribes as the Empire collapsed, it’s wishful thinking at best to believe that the Vatican has them.

  • Sandy Brown

    I have been to the Vatican but I was 10 so am not sure if the stolen Kalim and utensils from the Bais Hamikdash were decorating the walls. I have been to Pompeii too. And many other places in the world.

  • judorebbe

    In 1963 we lost a great friend, John XXIII (Angelo Roncalli), who saved Jews during WWII by issuing falsified Baptismal Certificates. We may have found our “John XXIV”

  • HE CANNOT ENTER IF THERE IS A CROSS.
    HE CANNOT SLEEP WITH IDOLS AND ORNAMENTS and crosses
    I DONT SEE HIM WEARING A KIPA SO IS HE A JEW?

    MY RABBI ZT’L WAS INVITED MANY YEARS AGO AND SAID HE WOULD NOT ACCEPT BECAUSE OF HALACHA RESTRICTIONS and will not permit any photos of him entering.
    Although he invited that poop to visit him in HIS SHUL.

    Halacha does not permit a Jew to enter any church.
    A Jew can enter a MOSQUE IF, IF, they are NOT praying
    as they recognize saints not permitted in JUDAISM
    but do not have ‘graven images nor idols nor pictures.

    A JEW IS NOT PERMITTED TO ENTER INTO A CHURCH, PERIOD !

    • Learn halacha

      I guess you are a baal tshuva without profoubd halachical background but likes to share his newly acquired beliefs

      First of all there are exception, like protestant churches for example.
      Uks chief rabbi attended dianas funeral in westminster abbey and…
      Not that ibelueve a jew should run. Into churches and i dont even like if ppl decide to go for touristic reasons but you scream out too loud and too fast

      It doesnt say anywhere that that rabbi entered a church.the vaticanis not a churchbut a state
      He was only in the guest house

      Dont call your fellow jew a goy from assumptions, dont judge, as you dont know the exact details. It might all not be as bad. Or it might have not been halachically correct but no reason to publicly denounce a fellow jew
      Ask your new rav!

    • Yosef Millan

      The reason that you’re having difficulty with this so called rabbinical visit to the Vatican is because Abraham Skorka is a Conservative Rabbi (Wikipedia states that he received his PhD from the Conservative Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York). Understanding that there are no halachic boundaries for Conservative Jews should effectively quiet your storm of confusion.

    • Neil Katz M.D.

      I have visited Catholic churches and cathedrals, mosques as well as Protestant, Buddhist and Hindu temples during my lifetime. I have marveled at the religious and artistic symbolism and the splendid architecture.
      I am still a Jew. Nothing has changed. Chill!

  • Lawrence Kulak

    Hey, it looks like someone was looking to do Rabbi Shneier one better after the latter invited the previous Pope to the Upper East Side Synagogue for the last supper just before Pesach several years ago. Well, all that Pope did was stand next to the Aharon Kodesh and say that the Shul resembled the one that “baby Jesus” went to with his father. Yup, Rabbi Shneier sure scored big on that one. This Pope is a much more decent man, but Succos in the Vatican? I sure hope that the stolen Kalim and utensils from the Bais Hamikdash were decorating the walls.

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