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Symbolic Step Forward For Jewish-Catholic Ties

Holocaust Sculpture Dedicated at Catholic Institution in Jerusalem as Permanent Memorial in Presence of Senior Vatican Official Cardinal Martini


Contact: Dena Wimpfheimer, 201-645-4134


JERUSALEM, Dec. 3 /Christian Newswire/ -- Stephen Ollendorff, president of The Center for Interreligious Understanding presented a 1.3-meter high (4'') Holocaust Memorial Menorah to a leading Roman Catholic institution situated in the heart of Jerusalem on Sunday, December 2, at a brief dedication ceremony.


The Candelabra, an earlier version of which was presented at the Vatican in 1999 to Pope John Paul II, will remain on permanent display at The Pontifical Biblical Institute, adjacent to the King David Hotel. The CIU has placed that and other menorahs to further awareness of the Holocaust and to emphasize the significant changes in Catholic teachings on Jews and Judaism of recent decades.


"CIU''s Menorah Project provides an opportunity for Jews and Christians to come together to learn about our history, our shared values and why we must live and work together for a world of justice and peace," said Jack Bemporad, Executive Director of the organization. "At a time when religious conflict defines so much of our lives, the light of the menorah is a source of hope and a constant reminder that the work of reconciliation and understanding must be our own."


His Eminence Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini, former Archbishop of Milan, was seriously considered as a strong candidate to become Pope, according to news reports, although Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was ultimately chosen to head the Roman Catholic Church. At the ceremony, Cardinal Martini was recognized for decades devoted to furthering Jewish-Christian Dialogue.


The Menorah is a commissioned creation of Aharon Bezalel, an acclaimed Israeli artist (www.esh-casting.com). Each of the six places for candles symbolizes one million of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.