Central Conference of American Rabbis Extends Congratulations to Pope Francis I

Rabbinic Leadership Organization of Reform Judaism Pledges Continuing Dialogue; Relationship Building between Catholic Church and Jewish People

NEW YORK, March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Central Conference of American Rabbis, the world's largest group of Jewish clergy, consisting of 2,000 Reform Rabbis across North America, offers its congratulations to Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio on his elevation to Pope Francis I and his formal inauguration in Vatican City this week.

The rabbis urge Pope Francis to follow in the footsteps of the past two Popes and continue the strengthening of relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish People. They acknowledge and celebrate the positive role that Pope Francis played in facilitating communication with the Jewish People when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. "[W]e look forward with confidence to his continuing to build bridges between our communities in his new role," the statement says.

CCAR members often work together with members of the Catholic Church on issues of social justice and common causes. The rabbis recognize and appreciate the significance of choosing the name Francis, and pledge to work alongside Pope Francis and the Catholic clergy to further the causes of helping the poor and "fostering understanding among people and faiths," the statement says. 

Read the Full Statement Below

Statement of the Central Conference of American Rabbis

The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) extends its congratulations to Pope Francis I on his elevation and extends a hand of friendship and respect.

The CCAR, whose members engage in dialogue with representatives of the Catholic Church in America and around the world, and work alongside them on issues of social justice, takes note of the dramatic change in relations between the Church and the Jewish People since the conclusion of the Second Vatican Conference in 1968. We note, as well, how these relations have been strengthened under the past two Popes, and we have experienced first-hand the interest both Catholics and Jews have taken in furthering the dialogue and deepening their relationship. We are confident that Pope Francis will follow in their footsteps and, like them, extend that relationship even further during his pontificate.

We celebrate the constructive role that Pope Francis played in building bridges of communication with the Jewish people and with the rabbis and institutions of Progressive Judaism when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and we look forward with confidence to his continuing to build bridges between our communities in his new role.

We recognize the significance of the name the new pope has chosen for himself. Francis of Assisi is remembered both for his devotion to serving the poor and his commitment to fostering understanding among peoples and faiths. In selecting that name, Pope Francis announces his commitment to devote his energies to those same goals. We pledge to work alongside Pope Francis and our Catholic clergy colleagues in furthering those causes.

Rabbi Richard A. Block,

Rabbi Steven A. Fox,


Chief Executive

About the CCAR

Founded in 1889, the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) is the rabbinic leadership organization of Reform Judaism. The CCAR projects a powerful voice into the religious life of the American and international Jewish communities and works to ensure a vibrant Jewish future by providing exemplary resources, publications, and programs to the Reform rabbinate and the broader Jewish community.

With 2,000 Reform rabbis on "on the front lines" of the North American and worldwide Jewish communities, the CCAR empowers Reform Rabbis to provide religious, spiritual and organizational leadership by offering high-quality opportunities for Torah study, professional development, spiritual growth, and chevruta - a nurturing community of colleagues and friends.

For more information on the CCAR, please visit www.ccarnet.org

SOURCE Central Conference of American Rabbis


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