His remark comes as Jews worldwide are still reeling from the deadliest attack in American Jewish history, when 11 Jewish men and women were shot dead on Oct. 27 by a gunman who burst into Shabbat-morning services at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“A Christian cannot be an anti-Semite; we share the same roots. It would be a contradiction of faith and life. Rather, we are called to commit ourselves to ensure anti-Semitism is banned from the human community,” he told delegates from the World Congress of Mountain Jews, descendants of Jews who fled ancient Persia and inhabited the Caucasus.
“I have always sought to emphasize the importance of friendship between Jews and Catholics. It is based on a fraternity grounded in the history of salvation, and it finds concrete expression in concern for one another,” added Francis. “Together with you, I would like to offer thanks to the giver of every gift for the blessing of our friendship, which is a reason and an impetus to mutual dialogue.”
The pope concluded with “Shalom aleichem!”