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A courageous rabbi talks to the Catholic synod
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Author: Leibler, Isi
Date: Oct 15, 2008
Start Page: 15
Section: Opinion
Abstract (Document Summary)

COHEN WAS not burdened by such handicaps when he addressed Pope Benedict XVI and a gathering of 253 cardinals, archbishops and bishops. He conveyed to them the meaning of Torah for Jews and also expressed the hope that after such a long and painful history of "blood and tears," his presence at such a gathering was a "signal of hope and love for generations to come." Yet instead of basking in his glory, he diplomatically but forcefully raised the most sensitive issue on the Catholic-Jewish agenda.

The prevailing Jewish view is reflected at Yad Vashem by a terse caption under the image of Pope Pius which states: "Even when reports about the murder of Jews reached the Vatican, the pope did not protest either verbally or in writing. In December 1942, he abstained from signing the Allied declaration condemning the extermination of the Jews. When the Jews were deported from Rome to Auschwitz, the pope did not intervene."

He also urged the synod, as religious leaders, to actively condemn Iranian President's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's obscene call for Israel's destruction. "The problem during World War II was that people did not believe what Hitler was saying. Unfortunately", he said, "we had the Holocaust, and we are pained when we remember that not enough was done by the leadership of world religions and other powerful leaders to stop it then. We expect them to do so today. My being here makes me feel that we can expect your help, and I am sure your message will be listened to by influential people all over the world."

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