Pope Francis Meets Hebrew University Delegation on 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

Friends of the Hebrew University from across Europe meet with Pope Francis - (Photo Credit: L’Osservatore Romano Photographic Service)

Rome, January 27, 2015 - A delegation of 50 Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from across Europe held a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The delegation was led by the Chairman of the Hebrew University’s Board of Governors Mr. Michael Federmann, and President of the Hebrew University Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson. The Friends of the Hebrew University, Jews and Christians alike, met with the Pope as the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was being commemorated, to share a message of hope and fraternity.

 

Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, presents the Hebrew University Bible to Pope Francis - (Photo Credit: L’Osservatore Romano Photographic Service)

The Friends of the Hebrew University, Jews and Christians alike, met with the Pope as the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was being commemorated, to share a message of hope and fraternity.

The delegation – composed by French, Belgians, Swiss, Germans, English, Spanish and Italians - included such prominent Europeans as Presidents of the French and Swiss Friends of the Hebrew University and Co-Chairs of the Belgian Friends and of the Brain Circle UK.

A video of the Monday January 26 private audience can be viewed online at http://youtu.be/n0vcfrYcEWk

Hebrew University’s President, Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, presented Pope Francis with a special Hebrew University edition of the Hebrew Bible. “The gift we bring is the Hebrew University Bible, identical to the one we gave to Pope John Paul II during his visit to Jerusalem fifteen years ago. Based on extensive Hebrew University scholarship and the Aleppo Codex, this is the most accurate version of the Bible in existence,” said Prof. Ben-Sasson.

“We emphasize on this day that science should be the language of human creativity and the language of international discourse. Science does not know the boundaries of religion, nationality, race or gender. Scientific cooperation is fundamental to human activity, and on a day such as this we expect the world to be wary of all discrimination while creating an infrastructure for the foundations of research and collaboration. From this place and on this day, we call for the prevention of boycotts and exclusion in science,” said Prof. Ben-Sasson.

In May 2014, Prof. Ben-Sasson was one on the first people to greet Pope Francis during his historic visit to Israel, when he visited the Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus.

Mr. Michael Federmann, Chairman of the Hebrew University’s Board of Governors, remarked that this encounter represents a second-generation meeting with the Vatican.

Federmann’s father had previously donated a statue commemorating Jewish-Christian relations to the Vatican, and an identical statue to the monastery at Tantur between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

The European Delegation in front of the Great Synagogue, Rome

Two days of visits and conferences were organized for the delegation who marked Holocaust Memorial Day with a special Remembrance Day concert, “Remembrance is All I own: The Miracle of the Music Composed in the Concentration Camps.”

The concert took place in Rome before an audience of 2,500 people, including the President of the Italian Republic. The performers included prominent figures such as cabaret singer Ute Lemper of Germany, violinists Francesca Dego and Roby Latakos, and renowned klezmer singer Myriam Fuks. The concert concluded the song Betzet Israel, sung by the Italian Jewish community’s children’s choir.

Notably present at the gathering with the Pope was Viviana Kasam, President of Brain Circle Italia and organizer of this first-ever concert of music composed in the concentration camps, led by Francesco Lotoro, an Italian composer and musician, who dedicated the past 30 years to locate over 12,000 such compositions in quests around the European Continent. The latter gave a musical conference for the European delegation on the eve of the concert to relate them that quest.

Lecture by Francesco Lotoro for the European delegation of the Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

 

 

Concert « Remembrance is All I own »