American Jewish Committee (AJC), the leading global Jewish advocacy organization, mourns the passing of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

A true friend of the Jewish people, Benedict continued the path of reconciliation and friendship with world Jewry blazed by his predecessor, John Paul II.

During his papacy, from April 19, 2005, until his resignation on February 28, 2013, Benedict paid homage in Auschwitz to the victims of the Shoah (Holocaust) and made an official visit to the State of Israel, paying respects to its highest civic and religious figures. He condemned antisemitism as a sin against God and man, and he emphasized the unique relationship between Christianity and Judaism.

Addressing a large AJC Board of Governors delegation at a papal audience at the Vatican on March 16, 2006, Benedict celebrated the 40th anniversary of Nostra Aetate and encouraged AJC “efforts to increase friendship between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church.”

In addition to his personal friendships with Jews in Israel and the Diaspora, Benedict visited synagogues and met with local Jewish communities throughout his various pilgrimages, emphasizing his commitment to deepening the bonds between the Church and world Jewry.

His memory is for a blessing.

AJC, a pioneer in advancing Catholic-Jewish relations, has engaged the Vatican directly for more than seven decades, under the succussive leadership of Rabbis Marc Tanenbaum, James Rudin, and currently David Rosen, AJC Director of International Interreligious Relations, and Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations. AJC maintains an office in Rome, headed by Lisa Palmieri-Billig.

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