It was only months ago that Jorge Mario Bergoglio was filmed lighting a menorah (see video below) while celebrating Hanukkah with Buenos Aires’s Jewish community.
Now the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires has a new name: Pope Francis I, and much is being made of his friendly relationship with the Jewish community in his home country of Argentina.
Rabbi David Rosen, the director of interfaith affairs for the American Jewish Committee, described him as a “warm and sweet and modest man.”
After the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in 1994, he “showed solidarity with the Jewish community,” Rosen told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
“Those who said Benedict was the last pope who would be a pope that lived through the Shoah, or that said there would not be another pope who had a personal connection to the Jewish people, they were wrong,” Rosen said.
“The Latin American Jewish Congress has had a close relationship with Jorge Bergoglio for several years,” Claudio Epelman, executive director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, told JTA. “We know his values and strengths. We have no doubt he will do a great job leading the Catholic Church.”
Below is a video of Bergoglio celebrating Hanukkah with members of Buenos Aires’s Jewish community last year: