NEWS Religious Leaders Gathered in Assisi
By Adam Smulevich
Many Italian Rabbis and Jewish leaders attended an international meeting for peace between the religions in Assisi together with Pope Francis last week.
The meeting took place 30 years after the first edition, which was the initiative of Pope John Paul II. It brought to Assisi several hundred religious representatives from all over the world.
Representing the Italian Jewish community were, among the others, the president of the Italian Rabbinical Assembly, Alfonso Arbib, the chief rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, the chief rabbi of Genoa Giuseppe Momigliano, the chief rabbi of Florence Joseph Levi, and the president of the Jewish Community of Rome, Ruth Dureghello.
Before meeting the Pope, the participants took part on different panels concerning the most relevant issues of our current society: migrants and the challenge of integration, the fight against extremism, as well as the duty of Memory of what happened during the Holocaust. Among the topics covered were also the key points and new questions of the dialogue between Jews and Christians and the coexistence of different religions in Israel.
“When we pray, we speak to God. But when we study, it is the Lord that speaks to us. Our challenge is in these three verbs: to pray, to study, to do,” rav Di Segni stressed during a private moment of prayer and reflection for the Jewish delegation.
Israeli rabbi David Brodman, who survived the Holocaust as a child, said during the final ceremony that the Assisi meeting was proof that “even those who are different can forge friendships and live in peace.”