NEW YORK, January 5, 2005 - Pave the
Way Foundation announced today that it has been granted a special
private audience with His Holiness Pope John Paul II in Vatican City
on Tuesday, January 18, 2005.
A group of some 160 Jewish leaders,
rabbis and cantors from throughout the United States, Europe and
Israel - which is the largest group gathering of Jewish leaders to
ever meet with a sitting pope -- will attend the audience and thank
the Holy Father for all the work he has done to reconcile the two
They will recognize the Pope's
efforts during his 26-year pontificate in bringing down the walls of
hate, as well as his contribution towards religious reconciliation
with the Jewish people and the State of Israel. The Rabbis intend to
recite a special prayer in his honor at the ceremony.
Gary Krupp, President and founder of
the Pave the Way Foundation, stated, "Our mission at Pave the Way is
to bring together men of good will, no matter what their religious
background and to ruthlessly tear down any wall that stops this from
"Pope John Paul II has been doing
just that for decades. It is only fitting that we humbly thank him
for all he has done for the Jewish people of Earth and, in turn,
making inroads toward true peace on Earth," added Mr. Krupp, who is
the seventh Jewish man in history to be knighted by the pope to the
order of St. Gregory the Great. The group attending the
audience will include Oded Ben-Hur, Israeli Ambassador to the Holy
See; Amire Ofek, Israeli Consul for Media in New York; Rabbi Adam
Mintz, president of the New York Board of Rabbis; Rabbi Shmuel Rene
Sirat, Former Chief Rabbi of Europe and France; Rabbi David Lincoln,
Chief Rabbi of the Park Avenue Synagogue, New York; Rabbi Shlomo
Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Israel, Rabbi Joseph Arbib of the
Great Synagogue in Rome and Gadi Golan, former Director of Religious
Affairs for the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
The group also will include over 12
Cantors, who on Monday, January 17, at 8 p.m. will present a concert
at the Great Synagogue in Rome for the delegation and
representatives of the Vatican and the Roman Jewish Community. Mr..
Krupp pointed out that Pope John Paul II has a very long history of
supporting the rights of the Jewish people and of speaking out
against anti-Semitism and, factually, of discrimination of any
group. In 1978 he characterized anti-Semitism as "opposed to the
very spirit of Christianity." In 1987, he called on all Christians
to develop, together with the Jewish community, "common educational
programs which…will teach future generations about the Holocaust so
that never again will such a horror be possible. Never again!"
"Pave the Way Foundation has been
instrumental in helping to close the gap between the Vatican and the
State of Israel in their talks to finalize full diplomatic
relations", says Elliot Hershberg Chairman of Pave the Way.
As further evidence of the
effectiveness of their efforts, Mr. Krupp announced that the Vatican
has given permission for the loan of the Maimonides Manuscripts
along great Jewish writings to the Israel Museum for its 40th
anniversary exhibit in spring 2005.
Mr. Krupp, who initiated the loan
request of the manuscripts from the Vatican Library, commented that.
"This is the first time these historic manuscripts will be on
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