rabbis on the Jewish United Fund Rabbinic Action Committee Mission met with Pope
Francis in Vatican City on Wednesday during the weekly papal assembly in St.
Peter’s Square. In pouring rain, the 19 rabbis were escorted to a special
seating section next to the dais of the Pope, who welcomed the delegation at
the beginning of his homily.
three rabbis had the opportunity to greet the Pope: Rabbi Leonard Matanky,
President of the Rabbinical Council of America and Dean at Ida Crown Jewish
Academy, Rabbi Michael Weinberg, Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth Israel in Skokie,
and Rabbi Carl Wolkin, Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom in Northbrook.
the Pope with a handshake and with the word ‘shalom,’ to which he responded, ‘shalom’
with a big smile,” Weinberg said.
presented the Pope with a letter from Cardinal George in Chicago as well as a
book, A Legacy of Catholic-Jewish
Dialogue: The Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Jerusalem Lectures (Liturgy
Training Publications, 2012), which chronicles the Catholic-Jewish lecture
series that occurs annually in Chicago, symbolic of the relationship between
Chicago’s Jewish community and the Archdiocese of Chicago.
the Pope an Ida Crown Jewish Academy yarmulke on behalf of the school and its
students along with another book, a collection of essays from Rabbi Aaron
Lichtenstein dedicated in memory of his son. Wolkin offered the Pope a
Pope] said, ‘Pray for me,’ that was my cue,” Wolkin said. “I said how honored
we were to have this time with him, and then I prayed for him and said, “Y’varech’cha
HaShem v’yishm’recha” – may God bless you and protect you.”
Rabbinic Action Committee has organized a mission to a European country and
Israel every year since 2003. This year, the trip included relevant Jewish
sites in Italy, such as the Ancient Synagogue in Ostia Antica.
on the mission: Alan Abramson, Michael Balinsky, Steven Bob, Paul Caplan,
Alejandro Felch, Seth Gelman, Sam Gordon, Sidney Helbraun, Andrea London, Debra
Newman Kamin, Yehiel Poupko, Marc Rudolph, Isaac Serotta, Michael Siegel, Anthony
Stoller and Eitan Weiner-Kaplow.