Jerusalem — Standing alone in the cool shadow of the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount, God’s representative on Earth to 800 million Catholics slipped a typewritten white sheet of paper into a crack in the holiest site in Judaism, and then he prayed.
The powerful moment, symbolizing Pope John Paul II’s desire to build a new peaceful relationship with Israel and the Jewish people, was relayed to tens of millions around the globe on the Internet and television, and in newspapers.
Jewish leaders worldwide continue to express outrage and sadness over the Vatican’s action to bring 19th century Pope Pius IX — who called Jews “dogs” and conspired in the kidnapping of a Jewish child — one step closer to sainthood.
All eyes now turn to Jerusalem. Not satisfied with Pope John Paul II’s general apology to the world on Sunday, some Jewish leaders are hoping the pontiff will come through with an unprecedented and specific declaration about Christian responsibility for the Holocaust and 2,000 years of anti-Semitic acts when he visits the Yad Vashem memorial next Thursday.
He will meet with survivors from the Polish town of Wadowice, where the Pope was born 79 years ago.
During a revealing World War II meeting between Pope Pius XII and the British ambassador to the Vatican, the pontiff said he had no complaints against the Nazis occupying Rome and expressed concern about the trouble his city would encounter when they left, according to a recently declassified U.S. memo obtained by The Jewish Week.
And when the British diplomat details for the pope German abuses, the pope does not directly respond, according to the two-page document which records the Nov. 1, 1943, meeting between Pius XII and British Ambassador Francis D’Arcy Osborne.
In a defiant statement, the Vatican has rejected U.S. government appeals to open its secret World War II archives, The Jewish Week has learned. The development is expected to heighten tensions between the Holy See and world Jewish community leaders, experts said.
“It’s disgraceful,” declared Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress of the Vatican’s position, contained in a bold three-page declaration selectively distributed at a Holocaust conference in Washington last week.
When Palestinian Authority President Yasir Arafat sought an economic adviser for the proposed first joint industrial project with Israel, he turned to a 63-year-old Libyan Jewish businessman who has broken bread with Col. Moammar Khadafy.
And the businessman, Rafello Fellah, is betting his reputation and a small fortune that the proposed Karni Industrial Free Trade Zone on the border of Israel and Gaza will help foster a new era of peace between the two entities.
George Kalinsky was seething inside.
A fervently Orthodox rabbi told him that he wasn’t a real Jew.
Never mind that Kalinsky’s parents were Jewish and that he put on tefillin every morning.
Kalinsky, the longtime photographer extraordinaire for Madison Square Garden, who captured the magic of the Willis Reed/Walt Frazier-era championship Knick teams and who took the last photo of John Lennon performing live, apparently wasn’t observing rituals to the Agudath Israel rabbi’s standards.
Slowly, reluctantly and with trepidation, Israel turned to its army this week to redeem a military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon that its air force has proved unable to win. The ground assault took place amid rising international opposition to Israeli actions, sparked by rising civilian casualties.
Rabbi Leon Klenicki, one of the Jewish community’s leading voices for rapprochement with the Catholic Church, died Jan. 25. A resident of Monroe Township, N.J., he was 78.
Rabbi Klenicki, a native of Argentina, served as the Anti-Defamation League’s director of Interfaith Affairs until his retirement eight years ago, and as the ADL’s co-liaison with the Vatican, meeting frequently with Church leaders in Rome, the United States and other countries.
A politically aware teenager in Queens in the 1960s, Gary Krupp shared the prevailing opinion of Pope Pius XII, the controversial leader of the Roman Catholic Church during World War II. “I grew up hating him,” Krupp says. Today, he is one of the pope’s most vocal defenders in the Jewish community.