Some 150 Jewish officials thanked Pope John Paul II at the Vatican for his outreach efforts to Israel and to the Jewish world. The delegation, which included rabbis, cantors and other Jewish officials from Europe, Israel and North America, came to the Vatican on Tuesday under the auspices of the Pave the Way Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit organization that promotes religious understanding.
“We are a vast cross-section of Jewish leaders who wanted to say thanks to the pope for what he has done for Israel and the Jewish people,” Pave the Way’s president and founder, Gary Krupp, said in an interview. He said the rabbis in the group — representing several streams of Judaism — offered a collective blessing for the 84-year-old pope.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Vatican’s Nostra Aetate declaration, which opened the door to formal Catholic-Jewish dialogue.