AJC at Pope Francis' First Audience for Jewish Leaders

June 24, 2013 – Rome -- An AJC senior leadership delegation participated today in Pope Francis’ first audience with representatives of the international Jewish community at the Vatican. The four AJC representatives were part of an International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) delegation. AJC is a founding member of IJCIC, the Vatican’s dialogue partner with world Jewry.

“Pope Francis is a very good friend of the Jewish People and we rejoice in the fact that he will continue to advance the path of his predecessors in deepening the Catholic-Jewish relationship even further,” said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s Director of International Interreligious Affairs. “Our presence at this audience was significant as AJC is a founder of IJCIC and is the oldest American Jewish organization that pioneered the transformation in Catholic-Jewish relations.”

In addition to Jerusalem-based Rabbi Rosen, the AJC delegation included David Inlander of Chicago, Chair of AJC’s Interreligious Affairs Commission; Rabbi Noam Marans of New York, AJC Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations; and Lisa Palmieri-Billig, AJC Representative in Italy and Liaison to the Holy See.

Inlander presented two AJC gifts to Pope Francis. One is a framed photo of the historic March 31, 1963 meeting of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Augustine Cardinal Bea at AJC headquarters in New York. At AJC’s initiative, the rabbi and the cardinal had met to discuss preparations for a declaration from the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council on the Relationship of the Catholic Church with the Jewish People. The other gift is a copy of Wide Horizons: Abraham Joshua Heschel, AJC, and the Spirit of Nostra Aetate, authored by AJC’s Gary Spruch.