A Blessing from Sanibel to the Vatican

April 17, 2008

Author: Dan Warner

Source: The News Press


“Hazak v’ ematz.”

It is a Hebrew blessing: “Be strong and of good courage.” A rabbi from Sanibel Island gave it to Pope Benedict XVI in an private meeting Thursday at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C.

The touching moment came from Rabbi A. James Rudin, who was selected by the Catholic Bishops Conference to receive Passover greetings from the pope at a meeting of about 40 Jewish leaders. The Jewish Passover holiday begins today.

“I told him that I accepted his greetings for the whole Jewish community,” said Rudin, by phone from D.C. “I also told him that I want to continue to work directly together for mutual respect and understanding between our faith communities.”

And then Rudin, who said he was “eyeball to eyeball” with the pope, said: “We need to dialogue more.”