Francis Hosts Argentine Jewish Leaders for Lunch

The group of Argentinian Jews eating lunch with Pope Francis in The Domus Sanctae Marthae, where the Pope lives, on January 16.

The group of Argentinian Jews eating lunch with Pope Francis in The Domus Sanctae Marthae, where the Pope lives, on January 16.

Fifteen Argentine Jewish leaders met with Pope Francis for an informal kosher lunch at the Vatican’s Domus Sanctae Marthae in January. On the agenda, the Holy Land…

Pope Francis invited 15 representatives of Argentina’s Jewish community to have lunch with him in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives, on January 16. Latin American Jewish Congress Executive Director Claudio Epelman helped organize the meeting together with the Pope’s personal friend, 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.” Epelman said that the conversations with the Catholic pontiff focused on strengthening inter-faith dialogue.

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

Epelman added that at the end of the luncheon, the Pope and the Jewish leaders together intoned Psalm 133 in Hebrew, which says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people dwell together in unity!”

From the left: Claudio Epelman, Pope Francis, Julio Schlosser and his friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka.

From the left: Claudio Epelman, Pope Francis, Julio Schlosser and his friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka.

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

Participating at the meeting were, among others, World Jewish Congress Vice-President Julio Schlosser, the head of the Argentine Jewish umbrella organization, Rabbi Skorka, Claudio Epelman, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, the Vatican official in charge of dialogue with the Jews.

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