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Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Meets with Pope Benedict XVI

Contact: CJCUC Media Department, 516-882-3220

ROME, Italy, Jan. 13, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Attending the Papal General Audience yesterday, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin had the opportunity afterward to greet Pope Benedict XVI and brief him on the work The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) is doing in Israel. "We are taking Your Holiness' call to stand in solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters in Israel and advocating on their behalf," Riskin said. He added, "We are looking for ways to alleviate the poverty conditions within this religious community and opportunities to dialogue on those areas where we must cooperate: our united faith in a God of love, compassion, morality and peace rather than a God of will, power and Jihad." The Pope also learned of the dialogue opportunities for Christians visiting Israel to study more about the Jewish foundations of the Christian faith. In response, Pope Benedict XVI commented that "we need to work together."

After the audience, CJCUC's Executive Director David Nekrutman explained the organization's focus in 2011 is to address the issues relating to the Christian community in Israel for its "the first time in history that Jews as a majority is coming face to face with religious minorities and its Judaism's obligation to adhere to the biblical mandate: You shall love the stranger in your land." He also stated that each religious and ethnic community in Israel has its specific needs and "we cannot just lump everyone into one melting pot." As an organization whose niche is to improve relations between Judaism and Christianity, Nekrutman feels that for CJCUC to become a trusted dialogue partner with Christians living in the Holy Land they first "must address their individual concerns."