Pope Francis hosts Argentinian Rabbis

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An informal kosher lunch was held by Pope Francis at the Vatican’s Santa Marta guesthouse for a delegation of 15 Argentine Jewish leaders.

A press release published by the World Jewish Congress (WJC) stated that participating at the meeting on Thursday were World Jewish Congress Vice-President Julio Schlosser, head of the Argentine Jewish umbrella organization DAIA, Rabbi Skorka, Claudio Epelman and Cardinal Kurt Koch, the Vatican official in charge of dialogue with the Jews.

Latin American Jewish Congress Executive Director Claudio Epelman organized the meeting along with Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka. Epelman said it was an “extraordinary gesture by Pope Francis to take more than two hours out of his busy schedule for a conversation with Jewish leaders from his native Argentina.” Conversations were focused on strengthening interfaith discussion.

Epelman, who is the World Jewish Congress official in charge of dialogue with the Catholic Church, added that Pope Francis expressed hope that “this meeting will help nurture the seeds we have planted together.” The pope also emphasized how he was looking forward to his visit to Israel in May.

At the end of the lunch, the Pope and the Jewish leaders intoned Psalm 133 in Hebrew, which says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

The Jewish community of Argentina is the largest in Latin America.

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